Big 4th car­ries Colts

Mar­ian scores 41 points in last quar­ter in rout

The Republican Herald - - HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL - by steve stal­loNe stAff WrIter con­tact the writer: sstal­lone@stan­dard­; 570-501-3596

HOME­TOWN — Plagued by penal­ties and missed op­por­tu­ni­ties, Mar­ian trailed neigh­bor­ing ri­val Pan­ther Val­ley 12-7 head­ing to the fourth quar­ter of Fri­day night’s Schuylkill League Di­vi­sion II con­test.

Be­lieve it or not, the Colts were just get­ting started.

Mar­ian treated its fans to a most bizarre fourth quar­ter — one they have prob­a­bly never seen in the sto­ried his­tory of the pro­gram — to turn a tight game into an un­be­liev­able run­away.

The Colts ex­ploded for 41 — yes 41 — points over the game’s fi­nal nine-plus min­utes on way to a 48-12 vic­tory that had ev­ery­one at Men of Mar­ian Sta­dium shak­ing their heads in dis­be­lief.

“No, I’ve never seen any­thing like that,” stated Seth Paluck, who started the fourth-quar­ter on­slaught with the first of his two touch­downs. “It’s a great ri­valry, and we just pulled it to­gether in the sec­ond half.”

“I’m just proud of my kids. They played a full 48 min­utes,” added first-year head coach Pat Mor­gans, whose team snapped a four-game slide and beat the ri­val Pan­thers for a sev­enth straight time in the series.

Mar­ian went to the locker room cling­ing to a 7-6 lead af­ter a first half that fea­tured as many penalty yards (94 com­bined) as yards from scrim­mage.

“We talked about hav­ing to elim­i­nate our penal­ties and we had to ex­e­cute,” Mor­gans said of his half­time speech. “We told them the plays were there, we just made a cou­ple ad­just­ments and we just had to hang tough for 48 min­utes, fin­ish the game strong.”

The Colts did just that, but it took a lit­tle while.

Pan­ther Val­ley took the sec­ond-half kick­off and drove 68 yards in nine plays, and took its first lead of the game at 12-7 on Tan­ner Kennedy’s 2-yard plunge.

Later in the quar­ter, the Colts were stopped on fourth down from the Pan­thers’ 22 to come away empty yet again. And with 3:08 left in the third, the Colts ap­peared in trou­ble.

But af­ter the Mar­ian de­fense forced a three-and­out, the of­fense fi­nally started to find it­self. Paluck’s fake punt for a 21-yard gain got the mo­men­tum go­ing the Colts’ way. He later scored on fourth-and-goal from just out­side the 1-yard line to put Mar­ian back on top 14-12 with 9:02 to play.

“That was huge,” Mor­gans said of Paluck’s touch­down. “He started the ball rolling last week with two kick­off re­turns for touch­downs, and he just con­tin­ued it to­day. The kid con­tin­ues to make plays and he car­ried us on his shoul­ders.”

As the rain started to come down on Stan Dakosty Field, the flood­gates started to open as well.

Paluck in­ter­cepted a pass near the side­line and re­turned it to the Pan­ther Val­ley 15, set­ting up the Colts’ next score. Although Paluck fum­bled go­ing into the end zone, of­fen­sive line­man Zack Falls was there to pounce on it for the touch­down with 6:10 on the clock.

Two plays later, Max Nolter in­ter­cepted a pass at the Pan­thers’ 22 and re­turned it all the way for an­other de­fen­sive score, and the lead was now 28-12 with 5:47 re­main­ing.

Fol­low­ing an­other three­and-out series by the Pan­thers, the Colts took over at the Pan­ther Val­ley 28 af­ter a short punt. Paluck did the rest, tak­ing a sec­ond-down hand­off and go­ing the re­main­ing 25 yards for the score and a 35-12 lead with 2:24 still left.

On the very next play from scrim­mage, Falls stepped in front of a pass at the 25 and re­turned it un­touched to the end zone for an­other touch­down, mak­ing it 42-12.

“What Seth is to the skill kids is what Zack is to our line­men. He makes huge plays too,” Mor­gans said.

BoB GAe­tAno / Con­trIBUt­InG pHo­toG­rA­pHer

Mar­ian run­ning back Seth Paluck picks up yardage dur­ing the Colts’ vic­tory over Pan­ther Val­ley in a Schuylkill League Di­vi­sion II foot­ball game Fri­day night at Stan Dakosty Field at Men of Mar­ian Sta­dium. The Colts won 48-12.

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