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2019 Football Season Highlights

PREP BOWL: Saint Patrick 21, Marian Catholic 14

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7 at Triton College.
2000 Fifth Avenue, River Grove.
$5 for adults; $3 for students.
2019 records: Marian Catholic 5-5; Saint Patrick 4-6.
Last week: Sterling 56, Marian Catholic 14; Saint Patrick 33, Carmel Catholic 25.
Spartans- 1 loss; Shamrocks- 2 wins.
Last year: Saint Patrick 35, Marian Catholic 14.
The series:
With five straight victories in the series dating back to 1966, Saint Patrick has evened the overall series at 12-12.
  • Marian is making its first Prep Bowl appearance since 2002.
  • The Spartans' last series victory came in a 42-35 decision in 2011.
  • The winner has scored 31 points or more in all of the last seven meetings. 
  • Thursday's winner will play a Prep Bowl semifinal next weekend at St. Laurence.
  • Spartan tailback Tajheem Lawson (1,192 rushing yards) has scored 23 touchdowns this season.
  • Marian has played in two Prep Bowl title games, including a 23-14 win over Simeon in 2000.
  • The Spartans own a 1-1 record this year playing in college stadiums.

    Nov. 7 (Prep Bowl second round at Triton) 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
    7 6 0 8 -21

Spartans (5-6) thwarted by late Saint Patrick comeback

   With the Marian Catholic secondary dominating in the second half on Nov. 7, Saint Patrick went back to its bread and butter.
   The Shamrocks trailed by one early in the fourth quarter of a second-round Chicagoland Prep Bowl contest at Triton College, but used a 13-play, 91-yard drive to steal a victory away from the Spartans with a 21-14 decision.
   St. Patrick (5-6), which will travel to St. Laurence next weekend for a Prep Bowl semifinal, handed off to tailback Eric Wozny on 11 of the drive's plays. Wozny capped off a 27-carry, 189-yard night with a 15-yard touchdown burst that proved to be the deciding points with 3:06 to play.
   Marian (5-6) had time to mount a comeback, but managed just one first down via penalty before turning over the ball on downs at the Shamrock 46-yard line.
   The Spartans fell below .500 for the first time in the season ender, but completed their most successful campaign on the gridiron since 2010.
   Thursday's effort spoiled a stellar effort for the Marian secondary of Bryce Jackson, Elijah Barnes, Jah'mar Daniel and Justin Young, as St. Patrick was limited to 82 passing yards on 18 attempts. Marian also picked off the Shamrocks three times, with interceptions from Barnes, Daniel and linebacker Dylan Ross.
   The start of each half couldn't have worked out much better for Marian Catholic, which fell to Saint Patrick for a sixth straight time.
   On the first offensive snap of the night, Marian junior tailback Tajheem Lawson got loose on a 63-yard scamper and touchdown. The Spartans' most recent 1,000-yard rusher finished the night with 101 yards on 14 carries. With Ray Cantelo's conversion boot, the visitors owned a 7-0 command just 13 seconds into the contest.
   Saint Patrick rallied for the game's next two scores to take a 13-7 edge into halftime.
   However, on the initial possession of the second half, Barnes picked off a Shamrock pass and raced 32 yards for a score. Cantelo again converted, and Marian owned a 14-13 edge.
   Interceptions halted the next two Saint Patrick drives, then the Spartans forced a turnover on downs to enter the final period with the slim one-point advantage.
   That's when the excruciating Saint Patrick drive took more than seven minutes off the clock and gave the Shamrocks the lead for good.
   Solid play on the Marian offensive line from Rhashid Wilborn, Josh Hybert, Ross, Derek Marin-Martinez, Craig Morrison and Aidan Vanderwall helped Lawson surge over the century mark. However, Marian was limited to just 35 total yards in the passing game and managed only seven first downs for the night. While the Spartans won the turnover battle, 3-2, they also had two costly fumbles.
   While Anjay Rush recorded a sack for Marian, the Spartans lost 27 total yards on four sacks by the Shamrocks.
   With the first successful season in many years and a CCL-ESCC Division title under its belt, Marian can now look forward to a 2020 season opener against rival Bloom Township.
CATEGORY Marian Catholic Saint Patrick
First downs 7 16
Rush attempts / yards 28-102 39-205
Passing yards 35 82
Pass completions 3 10
Pass attempts 9 18
Had intercepted 0 3
Fumbles / lost 2 / 2 0 / 0
Penalty Yards 4-50 4-50
Next Season over at St. Laurence (PB)


MC- Tajheem Lawson 63-yard run (Ray Cantelo kick), 11:47 first.
SP- Eric Wozny 53-yard run (Edison Lane kick), 1:34 first.
SP- Wozny 31-yard run (kick blocked), 9:44 second.
MC- Elijah Barnes 32-yard interception return (Cantelo kick), 11:50 third.
SP- Wozny 15-yard run (Aidan Larson to Vic Matkowski), 3:06 fourth.
Rushing: MC- Lawson 14-101 (TD), Jah'mar Daniel 4-22, Anjay Rush 4-12, Ronald Thomas 3-(minus 14), Kevin Johnson 3-(minus 19). SP- Wozny 27-189 (3 TD), #48- 8-22, A.J. Fitzpatrick 1-2, Larson 3-(minus 8). 
Passing: MC- Johnson 1 of 4, 23 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT; Thomas 2 of 5, 12, yards, 0 TD, 0 INT. SP- Larson 10 of 18, 82 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT.
Receiving: MC- Justin Stallworth 1-23, Rush 1-7, Daniel 1-5. SP- Fitzpatrick 5-38, Lane 2-27, Matkowski 2-14, Matt Dahlstrom 1-3.
Interceptions: Elijah Barnes (MC), Jah'mar Daniel (MC), Dylan Ross (MC).

IHSA 5A Playoffs: Sterling 56, Marian Catholic 14

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1 at Sterling High School.
1608 4th Avenue, Sterling.
All priced at $5, established by the IHSA.
2019 records: #16 Marian Catholic 5-4; #1 Sterling 9-0.
Last week: Marian Catholic 43, Chicago Leo 12; Sterling 54, Galesburg 28.
Spartans- 1 win; Golden Warriors- 9 wins.
The series: The teams have never met.
  • Sterling is making its 32nd overall IHSA playoff appearance; Marian its 21st.
  • The Spartans are 1-1 in IHSA title games (1993 championship); the Golden Warriors have not advanced to a title game.
  • Marian visits the playoff for the first time since 2010; Sterling is making its sixth straight appearance.
  • The Spartans seek their 26th IHSA playoff win, which would equal Sterling's all-time total.
  • The Golden Warriors average 43.9 points per game, while Marian averages 33.6.
  • Sterling won the Western Big 6; Marian defeated WB6 member Geneseo, 13-6, in the 1993 Class 5A title game.
  • Marian's last playoff appearance resulted in a 27-12 first-round Class 7A loss to Wheaton North in 2010.
  • Spartan Coach Erick Middleton was named Dave Mattio Coach of the Year in the CCL-ESCC Red Division.
  •  Marian's Tajheem Lawson (22 total TD) was named Offensive Player of the Year in the CCL-ESCC Red.

    Nov. 1 (Class 5A first round) 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
    14 35 7 0 -56

Spartans (5-5) throttled by Sterling in IHSA 5A playoff opener

   Once the Sterling steamroller got going Friday, Marian Catholic had no answer on defense.
   The Spartans got off to an encouraging start at Sterling in their IHSA Class 5A playoff opener, but the host Golden Warriors ultimately scored on their first seven possessions and rolled to a 56-14 conquest of the Spartans.
   Sterling (10-0) will host St. Rita in a second-round 5A contest, while Marian Catholic (5-5) will await for an assignment in the Chicagoland Prep Bowl.
   While Marian produced a solid rushing game on Friday, Sterling was nearly unstoppable. The host squad churned out 409 yards on the ground by gaining more than 14 yards a clip. The Golden Warriors got to a third down snap just once in the opening half in rolling to a 49-6 halftime bulge.
   Facing their first playoff test since 2010, Marian opened Friday's action in impressive fashion. Behind an offensive line of Rhashid Wilborn, Dylan Ross, Craig Morrison, Josh Hybert and Aidan Vanderwall, the Spartans controlled the clock for 12 plays before coming up blank on a long field goal attempt.
   After Sterling responded with an 80-yard touchdown march, Marian's offense again proved worthy.
   Needing just three plays, the Spartans went 75 yards and nearly pulled even on Tajheem Lawson's 62-yard scoring jaunt. The conversion kick was missed, and Marian would never have an opportunity to take a lead again.
   While Marian continued to move the chains with some consistency, Sterling's next six possessions resulted in scoring drives of 66, 86, 31, 12, 53 and 37 yards- with none of the drives taking more than four plays.
   The visitors managed 15 first downs for the night, but couldn't display near the consistency of the Golden Warrior offense.
   Faced with a running clock in the second half, each team scored once with the Marian touchdown coming on a 27-yard burst by fullback Anjay Rush.
   Sparked by the strong offensive line play, Lawson finished with 100 yards on 17 carries to go along with four receptions worth 34 yards. Jah'mar Daniel added 72 yards via the infantry, while Rush contributed 30 yards on the ground.
   Marian outgained Sterling through the air, 105 to 35, as Kevin Johnson finished 7 of 15 for 92 yards.
   The Spartans will have a chance to extend their season next weekend with their first appearance in the Chicagoland Prep Bowl since 2002. 
CATEGORY Marian Catholic Sterling
First downs 15 16
Rush attempts / yards 36-215 29-409
Passing yards 105 35
Pass completions 9 2
Pass attempts 18 2
Had intercepted 1 0
Fumbles / lost 1 / 1 1 / 0
Penalty Yards 8-80 5-55
Next Prep Bowl- TBA ST. RITA (5A)


ST- Jahshawn Howard 54-yard run (Michael Hanrahan kick), 3:58 first.
MC- Tajheem Lawson 62-yard run (kick failed), 2:35 first.
ST- Howard 1-yard run (Hanrahan kick), 1:27 first.
ST- Cooper Willman 74-yard run (Hanrahan kick), 10:06 second.
ST- Williman 31-yard run (Hanrahan kick), 8:07 second.
ST- David Tessman 2-yard run (Hanrahan kick), 5:59 secMCond.
ST- Noel Aponte 1-yard run (Hanrahan kick), 2:04 second.
ST- Aponte 1-yard run (Hanrahan kick), 0:34 second.
MC- Anjay Rush 27-yard run (Lawson run), 5:54 third.
ST- Alex Knapper 67-yard run (Hanrahan kick), 1:13 third.

Rushing: MC- Lawson 17-100 (TD), Jah'mar Daniel 8-72, Rush 3-30 (TD), Zion Horn 4-20, Darius Mahone 2-3, Ronald Thomas 1-(minus 4), Johnson 1-(minus 6). ST- Willman 4-171 (2 TD), Knapper 3-77 (TD), Howard 4-69 (2 TD), Aponte 9-65 (2 TD), Colt Adams 2-14, Tessman 5-9 (TD), Dante Coppotelli 2-4. 
Passing: MC- Johnson 7 of 15, 92 yard, 0 TD, 1 INT; Ronald Thomas 2 of 3, 13 yards. ST- Willman 2 of 2, 35 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT.
Receiving: MC- Lawson 4-34, Rush 1-31, Justin Stallworth 1-17, Brandon Kelly 1-10, Victor Cooksey 1-8, Dominick Angellotti 1-5. ST- Luke Heffelfinger 1-24, Isaiah Yarbrough 1-11.
Interceptions: Tyree Kelly (Sterling).

GAME 9: Marian Catholic 43, Chicago Leo 12

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25 at Dave Mattio Field, Spartan Stadium.
Joe Orr Road, just west of Ashland Avenue, Chicago Heights.
$5 Adults; $4 Students; $3 Marian ID; $2 Seniors; $1 Grade School.
2019 records: Chicago Leo 3-5; Marian Catholic 4-4.
CCL-ESCC Red records: Lions 2-0; Spartans 2-0.
Last week:
Fenwick 49, Chicago Leo 12; Saint Ignatius 14, Marian Catholic 7.
Lions- 2 losses; Spartans- 2 losses.
Last year: The teams did not meet.
Next week: Leo- Chicagoland Prep Bowl; Marian- IHSA Playoffs or Prep Bowl?
The series: The teams have met just one time, as Marian Catholic captured a 45-12 decision in the 1997 Prep Bowl.
  • Friday's meeting represents the championship contest of the CCL-ESCC Red Division.
  • A Spartan victory will place Marian securely on the bubble for the IHSA Playoffs with a 5-4 mark.
  • Marian hopes to improve on a 3-1 mark this year on Dave Mattio Field.
  • A victory would give the Spartans their first five-win season since 2010 (also last IHSA playoff appearance).
  • Both teams hope to halt a two-game losing streak on Friday.
  • Marian has scored more than twice the Lions (111-54) in two CCL-ESCC victories.
  • The Spartans have not appeared in the Prep Bowl since 2002.

    Oct. 25 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
    LEO CATHOLIC LIONS 0 0 6 6 -12
    13 23 7 0 -43

Spartans (5-4) top Leo for league title, shot at IHSA playoff berth

   The defense was the table-setter for host Marian Catholic, and the offense arrived hungry.
   Capitalizing on great field position in its CCL-ESCC Red contest against Chicago Leo Friday, Marian scored five times in the opening half to roll to a 36-0 command at the intermission. From there, the Spartans coasted to a 43-12 victory over the Lions and the resulting dessert included plenty of tasty outcomes.
   Improving to 5-4 with its first wining regular season since 2010, Marian gives itself a legitimate shot to qualify for the IHSA playoffs to be announced Saturday night.
   The victory also gives the Spartans a 3-0 CCL-ESCC Red mark and their first conference title since 1994.
   Things started slowly for Marian Friday after an 11-play drive resulted in a missed field goal. However, the defense would make sure the outcome was never in doubt.
   Sparked by a defensive front of Kendall Thomas, Anjay Rush, Darius Mahone and Justin Stallworth, Marian forced a pair of first-half turnovers and limited the Lions to minus-23 total yards. Thomas racked up huge numbers with a fumble recovery and three sacks on the night.
   The secondary (Bryce Jackson, Josh Coats, Justin Young, Elijah Barnes, Jah'mar Daniel) did its part as well, limiting Leo to just three completions in 14 passing attempts. The Lions misfired on their first seven passing attempts. For the evening, the visitors saw 15 of their 39 offensive snaps go for negative yardage.
   The Marian offense was happy to capitalize on the opportunities.
   Quarterback Kevin Johnson (3 of 6, 75 yards) got the party starting, scoring on a 40-yard scamper on a draw. A turnover had the Spartans in the end zone just 20 seconds later, as Tajheem Lawson scored from 9 yards away.
   Lawson, who eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing barrier last week, added a 4-yard touchdown in the second quarter and finished with 77 yards on the ground.
   Meanwhile, Jah'mar Daniel (six rushes, 79 yards) was the Spartans' most productive offensive weapon. He hit paydirt on a 32-yard run and pulled in a Johnson aerial and negotiated his way to the end zone for a 24-yard score. Kicker Ray Cantelo booted four of his five conversion kicks before the intermission and Marian also scored on a safety when a Leo punt snap sailed out of the end zone.
   While Leo (3-6, 2-1) got on the board twice in the second half, Marian churned out the victory behind an offensive line of Craig Morrison, Josh Hybert, Rhashid Wilborn, Joe Mascolino, Dylan Ross and Beckett Clasen. Zion Horn picked up 58 yards on the ground after halftime and reserve QB Ronald Thomas capped the scoring with a 5-yard run.
   For the night, Marian outgained the Lions on the ground, 289 yards to 87 yards.
   The Spartans finished with five total sacks totaling 44 yards, as Stallworth and Rush added sacks.
   Anticipating being on the bubble, Marian will await announcement of the IHSA playoff pairings on Saturday night. With the Chicagoland Prep Bowl as an alternative, the Spartans will look forward to postseason football for the first time since 2010. 
   Sophomores: The young Spartans (5-4) capped off a perfect 3-0 season in the CCL-ESCC Red with a 12-8 decision over the Lions.
CATEGORY Chicago Leo Marian Catholic
First downs 7 17
Rush attempts / yards 25-87 42-289
Passing yards 43 115
Pass completions 3 5
Pass attempts 14 8
Had intercepted 0 1
Fumbles / lost 3 / 2 2 / 2
Penalty Yards 13-113 11-120
Next TBA- Prep Bowl TBA- IHSA or Prep Bowl


MC- Kevin Johnson 40-yard run (kick blocked), 1:56 first.
MC- Tajheem Lawson 9-yard run (Ray Cantelo kick), 1:36 first.
MC- Jah'mar Daniel 32-yard run (Cantelo kick), 9:55 second.
MC- Lawson 4-yard run (Cantelo kick), 5:54 second.
MC- Safety, ball snapped out of end zone, 3:42 second.
MC- Daniel 24-yard pass from Johnson (Cantelo kick), 0:41 second.
LEO- Rayion Davidson 70-yard run (run failed), 11:37 third.
MC- Ronald Thomas 5-yard run (Cantelo kick), 4:08 third.
LEO- Chris Lindo 24-yard run (run failed), 11:52 fourth.

Rushing: Leo- Davidson 2-64 (TD), Marcus Ray 9-24, Lindo 4-16 (TD), Mames E'Akels 1-(minus 8), Tobias Sample 9-(minus 9). MC- Daniel 6-79 (TD), Lawson 12-77 (2 TD), Zion Horn 10-58, Ernest Tetter 6-41, Johnson 4-28 (TD), Anjay Rush 1-6, Thomas 3-0.
Passing: Leo- Sample 3 of 14, 43 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT. MC- Johnson 3 of 6, 75 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Thomas 2 of 2, 40 yards.
Receiving: Leo- Davidson 1-34, Ray 1-8, Lindo 1-1. MC- Daniel 2-51 (TD), Tetter 1-37, Lawson 1-24, Brandon Kelly 1-3.
Interceptions: Khalil Blakes (Leo).

GAME 8: Saint Ignatius 14, Marian Catholic 7

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 at Dave Mattio Field, Spartan Stadium.
Joe Orr Road, just west of Ashland Avenue, Chicago Heights.
$5 Adults; $4 Students; $3 Marian ID; $2 Seniors; $1 Grade School.
2019 records: Saint Ignatius 3-4; Marian Catholic 4-3.
Last week: Saint Ignatius 24, Marian Central 13; St. Rita 55, Marian Catholic 7.
Wolfpack- 1 win; Spartans- 1 loss.
Last year: The teams did not meet.
Next week: Fenwick at Saint Ignatius, Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Chicago Leo at Marian Catholic, Fri., 7:30 p.m..
The series: The Spartans have an 0-3 mark in CCL-ESCC crossovers, but these teams have never met.
  • Friday will include an American flag ceremony to recognize a flag flown at the U.S. Capitol Building in honor of Marian alum Patrick Murphy '81, who was killed at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
  • Marian hopes to improve on a 3-0 record this fall at Dave Mattio field.
  • Against common opponents, both teams fell to Benet, while Marian Central topped the Spartans and lost to the Wolfpack.
  • Marian QB Kevin Johnson has completed 80 percent (16 of 20) of his passes in the last three contests.
  • The Spartans seek their first season of five or more victories since the 2010 campaign.
  • Marian has both a rushing and passing touchdown in all four victories this year.
  • This marks the first of back-to-back home contests to conclude the regular season.
  •  The Red Division is seeking its first victory in a CCL-ESCC crossover contest.

    Oct. 18 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
    0 0 7 0 - 7

Spartans (4-4) thwarted in defensive struggle against Saint Ignatius

   A pair of promising fourth-quarter drives went awry for host Marian Catholic on Friday- one on offense and one on defense.
   Saint Ignatius was the one to take advantage, pulling away from a 7-7 fourth-quarter stalemate to escape with a 14-7 victory in a CCL-ESCC crossover.
   The contest left both squads with 4-4 marks and scrambling for an elusive fifth victory next week that might lead to an IHSA playoff berth.
   Sparked by a valiant effort by a tired defensive line, Marian put itself in position to go 4-0 in Spartan Stadium Friday, as the Spartans clinged to a 7-7 tie in the latter stages of the fourth quarter.
   Aided by a penalty, Marian had Saint Ignatius in a third-and-27 situation at the Spartan 42-yard line. Then a 9-yard pickup left that Wolfpack with fourth-and-11. Somehow, Wolfpack receiver Shaz Mathew got behind the Marian defense for a 33-yard score and the go-ahead touchdown with 3:57 to play.
   Marian was far from done, however, starting a drive at its own 35-yard line. Tajheem Lawson (11 carries, 75 yards) moved the chains twice, busting off runs of 19, 9 and 16 yards. Another 2-yard carry moved the Spartans into the red zone at the Wolfpack 19-yard line.
   Amid discussions of going for two when the home team got into the end zone, the next two plays went for negative yardage. Then a fourth-down screen pass fell incomplete.
   Literally playing in their second meaningful fourth quarter since the opener of the 2018 season, the Spartans fell to the .500 mark for the first time all year.
   One group that couldn't be blamed was the Marian defensive front of Josh Hybert, Kendall Thomas, Anjay Rush, Darius Mahone, and Justin Stallworth. The Wolfpack ran 55 plays to the Spartans' 27 snaps, but the Spartan defensive front held tough until the fluke pass play that determined the outcome.
   Both of Saint Ignatius' scoring drives were grueling and punishing. The Wolfpack marched 80 yards after the opening kickoff, finally finding the end zone on the 15th play. The eventual winning drive was 18 plays for 78 yards.
   In between, Marian settled the score after a 7-0 halftime deficit.
   Keyed by first down runs from Lawson, Darius Mahone and quarterback Kevin Johnson, the Spartans marched inside the Wolfpack 10, where Lawson busted off a 9-yard run for the lone Marian touchdown. A Ray Cantelo conversion boot had matters even at 7-7 with 8:03 to play in the third quarter.
   From there, Marian had a three-and-out and the final drive that stalled at the Wolfpack 26-yard line. Spurred by the Saint Ignatius ball-control offense, the Spartans had only six possessions for the night- one coming with 10 seconds remaining in the first half. The Wolfpack's first drive of the night consumed all but 1:40 of the opening quarter. The two Saint Ignatius scoring drives amounted to 22:36 off the clock, compared to Marian's 12:18 total time of possession.
   While the Spartans were 0-for-5 on third-down conversions for the night, Saint Ignatius converted three times on fourth down during its second scoring drive.
   Despite having a great shot at the end of the contest, Marian's offense managed just 145 yards for the night. As has been the case of late, Johnson was an efficient five of eight for 62 yards, hitting Justin Stallworth three times for 54 yards.
   Although not plentiful on IHSA playoff points, Marian will continue its drive for five wins next Friday when the Spartans host Chicago Leo for Senior Night at 7:30 p.m. in a CCL-ESCC crossover.

   Sophomores: The Spartans (4-4) fell victim to a Saint Ignatius comeback, 27-16.
CATEGORY Saint Ignatius Marian Catholic
First downs 16 5
Rush attempts / yards 48-176 19-83
Passing yards 49 62
Pass completions 4 5
Pass attempts 7 9
Had intercepted 1 0
Fumbles / lost 0 / 0 1 / 0
Penalty Yards 2-20 5-35


SI- Jake Lo 5-yard run (Salvatore Besztery kick), 1:40 first.
MC- Tajheem Lawson 9-yard run (Ray Cantelo), 8:03 third.
SI- Shaz Mathew 33-yard pass from Leo Rugai (Besztery kick), 3:57 fourth.

Rushing: SI- Lo 32-125 (TD), L. Rugai 10-35, E.J. Talarico 4-22, Vincent Rugai 1-(minus 1), Richard Ponce 1-(minus 5). MC- Lawson 11-75 (TD), Kevin Johnson 3-10, Darius Mahone 1-3, Jah'mar Daniel 3-1, Victor Cooksey 1-(minus 6).
Passing: SI- L. Rugai 4 of 7, 49 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. MC- Johnson 5 of 8, 62 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT; Lawson 0 of 1, 0 yards.
Receiving: SI- Mathew 1-33 (TD), Talarico 1-9, Ponce 1-5, Lo 1-2. MC- Justin Stallworth 3-54, Lawson 1-4, Cooksey 1-4.
Interceptions: Jah'mar Daniel (MC).

GAME 7: St. Rita 55, Marian Catholic 7

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11 at St. Rita High School.
7740 S. Western Avenue, Chicago.
2019 records: Marian Catholic 4-2; St. Rita 3-4.
Last week: Marian Catholic 62, DePaul Prep 26; St. Rita 22, Providence Catholic 0.
Spartans- 1 win; Mustangs- 2 wins.
Last year: The teams last met in 2009, a 34-14 7A playoff victory for St. Rita.
Next week: Saint Ignatius at Marian Catholic, Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Benet at St. Rita, Fri., 7:30 p.m.
The series: The Spartans have captured three of the last four meetings, with the overall series tied at 3-3.
  • Friday represents the final road regular-season contest for Marian Catholic (Spartans are 1-2 away this year).
  • The series has been low scoring, with only one of six contests totaling more than a combined 30 points.
  • The Spartans seek their first season of five or more victories since the 2010 campaign.
  • Marian owns a 3-1 record over the Mustangs in regular-season contests.
  • The Spartans have scored at least 13 points in five consecutive quarters.
  • Tailback Tajheem Lawson needs 46 yards to become the 22nd Spartan with a 1,000-yard rushing season.
  • Marian has both a rushing and passing touchdown in all four victories this year.
  • The Spartans hope to improve on an 0-2 mark in CCL-ESCC crossover contests.
  • All six Marian games this season have been decided by three touchdowns or more.
    Oct. 11 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
    21 13 7 14 -55

Spartans (4-3) stumble in rushing game in setback to St. Rita

   There were a couple positives in Marian Catholic's visit to St. Rita on Friday.
   One of them was not gains in the rushing game.
   On 20 rushing attempts for the Spartans, 11 did not gain positive yardage. The total rushing numbers of minus-11 yards for the night helped add up to a 55-7 victory for the Mustangs.
   The evening concluded with both squads owning 4-3 overall marks, although the Spartans fell to 0-3 in CCL-ESCC crossovers.
   In contrast, St. Rita rushed for more than 10 yards per crack with 374 total yards via the infantry. Among seven rushing touchdowns, four came from 49 yards or more. Mustang tailback Kaleb Brown (182 yards) and Kyle James (61 yards) scored on five of their seven rushing attempts.
   Meanwhile, Marian had two long rushes of 10 yards. Jah'mar Daniel led the Spartan ground attack with 22 yards on five carries. Needing 46 yards to eclipse the 1,000 yard barrier, Marian tailback Tajheem Lawson gained 14 yards on his first two carries. The next five attempts resulted in minus-28 yards.
   Marian, which has not lost back-to-back games all year, will try to get back on track next Friday when it hosts Saint Ignatius at 7:30 p.m.
   Those Marian positives?
   After the Spartans fell behind, 34-0, at the half, Marian senior Josh Coats electrified the crowd when he took the second-half kickoff and rambled 84 yards for a touchdown. Ray Cantelo's conversion boot pulled the visitors to within 34-7, but that would end the Marian scoring for the night.
    Marian's defense was highlighted by an impressive goal line stand to close the first half. After a short punt set up the Mustangs at the Marian 9-yard line, the Spartans stiffened. With a strong effort up front by Kendall Thomas, Justin Stallworth, Joe Mascolino, Anjay Rush and Darius Mahone, Marian stonewalled St. Rita on fourth down at the 1-yard line.
   Spartan quarterback Kevin Johnson also turned in some positive numbers. Despite being victimized by sacks on three occasions, Johnson finished 7-for-8 for 62 yards. Stallworth led Marian receivers with two catches for 30 yards.
   In all, however, Marian netted just 54 total yards on offense.
   Cantelo was forced to punt six times and Marian ran just four plays in St. Rita territory for the night, the deepest penetration being the Mustang 41-yard line.
Sophomores: Marian (4-3) was unable to notch back-to-back wins, falling to the Mustangs, 48-18.
CATEGORY Marian Catholic St. Rita
First downs 3 13
Rush attempts / yards 20-(minus 11) 36-374
Passing yards 65 18
Pass completions 8 3
Pass attempts 13 7
Had intercepted 2 1
Fumbles / lost 1 / 1 1 / 0
Penalty Yards 6-45 4-50


SR- Kyle James 1-yard run (Jorge Verduzco kick), 9:47 first.
SR- Kaleb Brown 49-yard run (Verduzco kick), 6:03 first.
SR- Brown 55-yard run (Verduzco kick), 1:14 first.
SR- Brown 51-yard run (kick failed), 10:16 second
SR- James 60-yard run (Verduzco kick), 7:33 second.
MC- Josh Coats 84-yard kickoff return (Ray Cantelo kick), 11:45 third.
SR- Justin Valdez 1-yard run (Marty Larkin kick), 5:32 third.
SR- Kevin Smith 46-yard interception return (Joe Polselli kick), 10:27 fourth.
SR- Jaden Edwards 9-yard run (Verduzco kick), 6:05 fourth.

Rushing: MC- Jah'mar Daniel 5-22, Darius Mahone 1-6, Anjay Rush 1-(minus 1), Zion Horn 1-(minus 1), Tajheem Lawson 7-(minus 14), Kevin Johnson 5-(minus 23). SR- Brown 5-182 (3 TD), Edwards 15-85 (TD), James 2-61 (2 TD), Brian Johnson 2-26, Valdez 6-12 (TD), Isaiah Bragg 3-7, Nick Adent 1-5, Trevor Tovey 3-(minus 4).
Passing: MC- Johnson 7 of 8, 62 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT; Ronald Thomas 1 of 5, 3 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT. SR- Johnson 3 of 7, 18 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT; Valdez 0 of 1, 0 yards.
Receiving: MC- Justin Stallworth 2-30, Dom Angellotti 2-18, Ernest Tetter 2-11, Rush 2-6. SR- Adent 1-9, Jack Griffin 1-8, Brown 1-1.
Interceptions: Josh Coats (MC), Smith (SR), Djabril McNabb (SR).

GAME 6: Marian Catholic 62, DePaul Prep 26 {HOMECOMING}

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 at Dave Mattio Field, Spartan Stadium.
Joe Orr Road, just west of Ashland Avenue, Chicago Heights.
$5 Adults; $4 Students; $3 Marian ID; $2 Seniors; $1 Grade School.
2019 records: DePaul Prep 2-3; Marian Catholic 3-2.
CCL-ESCC Records: DePaul 0-1; Marian Catholic 1-0.
Last week: St. Laurence 48, DePaul Prep 0; Benet Academy 38, Marian Catholic 15.
Rams- 3 losses; Spartans- 1 loss.
Last year: Teams did not meet.
Next week: Providence Catholic at DePaul Prep, Sat., 12 p.m.; Marian Catholic at St. Rita, Fri., 7:30 p.m.
The series: In the lone meeting, the Spartans notched a 2002 victory over then Gordon Tech, 41-6, when both were members of the Catholic Metropolitan Conference.
  • Friday represents Marian Catholic's homecoming and will also include a 5 p.m. sophomore contest.
  • The Spartans are seeking their first home three-game winning streak since the 2009 season.
  • Friday matches the two highest scoring teams in the CCL-ESCC Red (Marian 36.6 ppg; DePaul 21.0).
  • Marian tailback Tajheem Lawson has scored 14 touchdowns, tied for 12th best in history (season).
  • The Spartans will play three of their last four contests at Dave Mattio Field.
  • Marian seeks its first four-victory season since the 2009 campaign.
  • The Spartans have rushed for at least 165 yards in four of five contests this season.
    Oct. 4 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
    DePAUL PREP ACADEMY RAMS 7 6 7 6 -26
    14 21 13 14 -62

Spartans (4-2) roll past DePaul to improve to 2-0 in CCL-ESCC Red

   One rusher averaging more than 10 yards per carry and you're doing pretty well.
   Two rushers getting more than 10 yards a clip and you're probably on your way to victory.
   Three rushers gashing a defense for more than 10 yards a carry and you have Marian Catholic's fourth victory of the season, a 62-26 CCL-ESCC Red romp over visiting DePaul Prep Academy on Friday.
   The victory improves the Spartans to 4-2 and 2-0 heading into a meeting at St. Rita next Friday, as the Spartans reached the four-victory plateau for the first time since 2011. After halting a 50-game conference losing streak earlier in the year, Marian has now won back-to-back contests in the new CCL-ESCC Red.
   Junior tailback Tajheem Lawson lit up the Ram defense early and often, rambling for 248 yards on 27 carries and five touchdowns. Meanwhile, fullback Anjay Rush and fellow junior tailback Jah'mar Daniel each rushed for 123 yards and a score.
   In all behind an offensive line of Josh Hybert, Derek Marin-Martinez, Dylan Ross, Aidan Vanderwall and Craig Morrison, Marian Catholic gained 519 yards on the ground in 46 total carries.
   The Spartans vaulted to a 35-13 lead by halftime and outscored DePaul (2-4, 0-2) in every quarter.
   Marian needed the big offensive night, as Ram quarterback Zach Burhans hurled for 364 yards through the air with four touchdowns.
   However, Marian jumped ahead, 14-0, and scored the first five times it had the football to keep the Rams chasing all night.
   Rush tallied the first score of the night from 7 yards out and Lawson followed with a 29-yard TD burst. The second of eight Ray Cantelo conversion boots had the home team ahead for good at 14-0.
   When DePaul rebounded with a score, Marian responded with three straight rushing scores, as Lawson hit paydirt from 13 and 32 yards before Darius Mahone barreled into the end zone from 3 yards away to give the Spartans a 35-7 cushion.
   Pesky DePaul continued to trade punches with the Spartans, but Marian put away matters with four second-half scores. Daniel scored on a 59-yard burst, reserve quarterback Ronald Thomas hit Justin Stallworth (four catches, 29 yards) with a 6-yard scoring strike and Lawson built his season touchdown total to 19 with TD jaunts of 36 and 6 yards.
   Despite the big passing numbers for the Rams, the Marian defense dominated up front. Behind a defensive line of Rush, Mahone, Kendall Thomas, Hybert and Stallworth, Marian held DePaul to just 18 rushing yards on 15 attempts.
   While the matchup featured some truly impressive offensive numbers (Marian had 580 total yards), the contest was also marred by 31 total penalties.
   Sophomores: Marian (4-2) captured a 20-6 victory over the Rams.
CATEGORY DePaul Prep Academy Marian Catholic
First downs 14 19
Rush attempts / yards 15-18 46-519
Passing yards 364 61
Pass completions 17 7
Pass attempts 42 16
Had intercepted 2 1
Fumbles / lost 1 / 0 1 / 0
Penalty Yards 12-97 19-157


MC- Anjay Rush 7-yard run (Ray Cantelo kick), 7:11 first.
MC- Tajheem Lawson 29-yard run (Cantelo kick), 5:10 first.
DP- Michael Flynn 7-yard pass from Zach Burhans (Oscar Lundberg kick), 1:43 first.
MC- Lawson 13-yard run (Cantelo kick), 10:30 second.
MC- Lawson 32-yard run (Cantelo kick), 6:52 second.
MC- Darius Mahone 3-yard run (Cantelo kick), 1:02 second.
DP- Flynn 21-yard pass from Burhans (run failed), 0:40 second.
MC- Lawson 36-yard run (Cantelo kick), 5:32 third.
DP- Flynn 65-yard pass from Burhans (Lundberg kick), 1:41 third.
MC- Jah'mar Daniel 59-yard run (kick blocked), 1:23 third.
DP- Layton Hopkins 80-yard pass from Burhans (kick blocked), 10:37 fourth.
MC- Justin Stallworth 6-yard pass from Ronald Thomas (Cantelo kick), 5:27 fourth.
MC- Lawson 6-yard run (Cantelo kick), 1:00 fourth.

Rushing: DP- Dominic Covington 9-15, Flynn 2-5, Anthony Martinez 1-5, Burhans 3-(minus 7). MC- Lawson 27-248 (5 TD), Daniel 4-123 (TD), Rush 7-123 (TD), Thomas 1-12, Ernest Tetter 1-7, Mahone 1-3 (TD), Rhashid Wilborn 1-2, Kevin Johnson 4-1.
Passing: DP- Burhans 17 of 42, 364 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT. MC- Johnson 4 of 5, 35 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT; Thomas 3 of 10, 26 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; Lawson 0 of 1, 0 yards, 1 INT.
Receiving: DP- Flynn 8-174 (3 TD), Hopkins 4-161 (TD), Covington 5-30. MC- Stallworth 4-29 (TD), Victor Cooksey 1-12, Daniel 1-10, Dom Angellotti 1-10.
Interceptions: Joshua Coats (MC), Jah'mar Daniel (MC).

GAME 5: Benet Academy 38, Marian Catholic 15

Kickoff: 12 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 at Benedictine University.
Maple Avenue and College Road, Lisle.
2019 records: Marian Catholic 3-1; Benet Academy 4-0.
Last week: Marian Catholic 49, St. Joseph 0; Benet Academy 35, De La Salle 7.
Spartans- 1 win; Redwings- 4 wins.
Last year: Benet Academy 58, Marian Catholic 0.
Next week: DePaul Academy at Marian Catholic, Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Benet at St. Laurence, Fri., 7:30 p.m.
The series: Benet has captured seven consecutive contests to narrow the Marian Catholic advantage in the series to 18-13. During the current streak, the Redwings own a 334-54 scoring advantage.
  • The meeting represents one of only two games on the schedule vs. a traditional ESCC foe (Marian Central Catholic).
  • A preliminary JV/Sophomore contest will be played at 10 a.m. at Benedictine.
  • Marian seeks its first four-victory season since the 2011 campaign.
  • The last Spartan victory in the series came with a 27-7 decision in 2011.
  • Marian junior tailback Tasheem Lawson has scored four touchdowns in three of four games this season.
  • The Spartans' 168 points this year is already one more point that all of last season.
  •  Last year marked the fourth shutout in 31 meetings, but the first time Marian had been blanked.
    Sept. 28 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
    21 17 0 0 -38

Spartans (3-2) thwarted by Benet in CCL-ESCC crossover test

   After gaining just 44 yards in the first half Saturday against Benet Academy, Marian Catholic had something to prove in the second half.
   The Spartans did just that with a spirited rally, but it didn't prevent the Redwings from improving to 5-0 with a 38-15 victory at Benedictine University in a CCL-ESCC crossover. The Spartans fell to 3-2 with a Homecoming date with DePaul Prep on deck, both of the Marian losses coming to traditional ESCC foes (Marian Central).
   After falling behind by a 38-0 margin at halftime, Marian showed some life in the second half.
   The Spartans came up empty initially on a drive that netted four first downs in the third quarter, but scored on both of their other second-half drives.
   Behind an offensive line of Rhashid Wilborn, Craig Morrison, Dylan Ross, Addis Davis and Josh Hybert, the Spartans made their mark with the rushing attack.
   Taking advantage of a short punt, Tajheem Lawson capped off a 32-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown burst. With Ray Cantelo's conversion boot, the visitors were finally on the board at 38-7. Marian's second scoring drive traveled just 28 yards, as Lawson tallied his 14th touchdown of the campaign with a 10-yard rush. Kevin Johnson capped the game's scoring with a conversion run to make it 38-15.
   Unfortunately for Marian, the visitors made things easier on the Redwings with good field position in the opening quarter. Benet scored on drives of just 4, 35 and 29 yards (needing just five plays) to take a 21-0 bulge before the opening quarter ended.
   Benet continued to scorch Marian through the air, adding a pair of second-period touchdowns and a 20-yard field goal from Will Benish to take a 38-0 command into halftime.
   Facing a yardage deficit of 258-44 at the intermission, Marian closed the gap in the second half.
   Lawson finished with 118 yards on 17 totes for the day as Marian outgained the Redwings on the ground, 167 to 92. Fullback Anjay Rush did a fine job blocking and rushing, carrying five times for 23 yards.
   However, Benet owned the airwaves. While Marian totaled just 8 passing yards, Benet starter Colin Gillespie used eight different receivers to finish an efficient 16 of 23 for 186 yards and three touchdowns.
Sophomores: Marian sustained its second loss of the season with a 44-0 setback to the Redwings.
CATEGORY Marian Catholic Benet Academy
First downs 10 13
Rush attempts / yards 29-167 20-92
Passing yards 8 186
Pass completions 5 16
Pass attempts 7 26
Had intercepted 2 0
Fumbles / lost 0 / 0 0 / 0
Penalty Yards 6-40 3-35
Next DePAUL PREP at St. Laurence


BA- Jacob Snell 4-yard pass from Colin Gillespie (Will Benish kick), 9:05 first.
BA- August Mazza 6-yard pass from Gillespie (Benish kick), 6:29 first.
BA- Pierce Walsh 29-yard run (Benish kick), 3:06 first.
BA- John Walsh 13-yard run (Benish kick), 10:38 second.
BA- Sean Torres 4-yard pass from Gillespie (Benish kick), 3:50 second.
BA- Benish 20-yard field goal, 0:09 second.
MC- Tajheem Lawson 4-yard run (Ray Cantelo kick), 5:35 fourth.
MC- Lawson 10-yard run (Kevin Johnson run), 0:54 fourth.

Rushing: MC- Lawson 17-118 (2 TD), Johnson 3-25, Anjay Rush 5-23, Jah'mar Daniel 4-1. BA- P. Walsh 1-29 (TD), J. Walsh 3-22 (TD), Torres 3-13, Michael O'Connor 4-13, Ryan Radek 1-9, Gillespie 3-8, Nick Johnson 4-0, Luca Hall 1-(minus 2).
Passing: MC- Johnson 5 of 7, 8 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT. BA- Gillespie 16 of 23, 186 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT. BA- O'Connor 0 of 3, 0 yards.
Receiving: MC- Lawson 1-6, Victor Cooksey 1-6, Daniel 1-4, Rush 2-(minus 8). BA- Jonathan Martin 5-103, P. Walsh 3-40, Mazza 3-19 (TD), Lucas Kosiba 1-12, J. Walsh 1-6, Snell 1-4 (TD), Torres 1-4 (TD), Nick Bafia 1-(minus 2).
Interceptions: Marty Garvin, Bafia (B).

GAME 4: Marian Catholic 49, St. Joseph 0

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20 at Elmhurst College.
Prospect Avenue and Alexander Boulevard, Elmhurst.
2019 records: Marian Catholic 2-1; St. Joseph 1-2.
Last week: Marian Central 21, Marian Catholic 0; Saint Viator 42, St. Joseph 0.
Spartans- 1 loss; Chargers- 1 loss.
Last meeting: Marian Catholic 28, St. Joseph 7 in 2009.
Next week: Marian Catholic at Benet Academy, Sat., 12 p.m.; St. Joseph at De La Salle, Fri.
The series: The Spartans own a 15-0 command in the series, including six shutouts in matchups dating back to 1968.
  • This is the first of back-to-back Marian contests on college campuses, as the Spartans battle Benet at Benedictine University next weekend.
  • These squads were former co-members of the ESCC league until the Chargers' departure.
  • After scoring 119 points in two opening wins, the Marian offense was limited to 51 yards last week.
  • This marks the first Red Division contest for both teams in the new CCL-ESCC league.
  • The high-point totals in the series include 56 points for Marian and 20 for the Chargers.
  • Marian is seeking its first league victory since 2011, a string of 50 consecutive setbacks.

    Sept. 20 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
    0 0 0 0 - 0

Spartans rout St. Joseph in initial CCL-ESCC Red encounter

   The equation is a simple one. When junior Tajheem Lawson scores four touchdowns, Marian Catholic is undefeated in the 2019 football campaign.
   The formula improved to three-for-three Friday at Elmhurst College, where Lawson rushed for 237 yards and four scores in leading the Spartans to a 49-0 victory over St. Joseph in the teams' inaugural CCL-ESCC Red encounter.
   The decision against the former ESCC combatants snapped a 50-game conference losing streak for the Spartans (3-1, 1-0) and represented their first victory on the road since 2011.
   Lawson rushed just eight times, scoring literally every other time he touched the ball. Not to be overshadowed, junior tailback Jah'mar Daniel rushed for 158 yards and a score, while also pulling in a 27-yard touchdown pass. The Spartans, who travel to Benet next Saturday seeking a second straight victory, ripped off 16.8 yards per rushing attempt in a 437-yard attack.
   The real star of Friday night, however, was the Marian Catholic defense.
   Sparked by linebackers Fred Garcia, Wande Oluwibe and Joseph Mascolino, Marian registered its first shutout since week two of last season.
   The dominant effort limited the Chargers (1-3, 0-1) to just 1.7 yards per attempt on the ground and forced three turnovers. Bryce Jackson pulled down a pair of interceptions and Zion Horn pounced on a St. Joseph fumble.
   Ignited up front on defense by Anjay Rush, Rhashid Wilborn, Kendall Thomas, Zack Carson, Connor Hamilton and Justin Stallworth (two sacks), Marian limited the Chargers to zero or negative yardage on 22 of 39 snaps.
   The outcome was never in doubt on Friday, as Marian scored on its first five possessions and took a 35-0 command into the halftime locker room. Lawson got the show started with a 49-yard touchdown run and added scores of 93 and 65 yards before the intermission. Quarterback Kevin Johnson added a 3-yard scoring burst in the opening stanza, and Daniel hit paydirt from a yard out late in the second quarter.
   Along with a conversion run by Johnson, Spartan kicker Ray Cantelo was successful on five of six PAT boots.
   Marian added scores in the third and fourth quarter, as reserve quarterback Ronald Thomas hit Daniel on a 27-yard touchdown strike and Lawson completed the scoring with his fourth TD, a 4-yard run.
   Complimenting a strong night in the blocking department fullback Rush picked up 35 rushing yards on just two carries and Stallworth topped the reception numbers with 29 yards on three catches.
   The Spartans' three victories represents the best total since the 2011 season, also the last time a Marian squad won four games in a campaign.
  Sophomores: Marian improved to 3-1 with a 22-6 victory over the Chargers.
CATEGORY Marian Catholic St. Joseph
First downs 17 8
Rush attempts / yards 26-437 19-33
Passing yards 55 125
Pass completions 5 7
Pass attempts 12 20
Had intercepted 1 2
Fumbles / lost 1 / 0 3 / 1
Penalty Yards 3-28 6-39
Next at Benet Academy at De La Salle


MC- Tajheem Lawson 49-yard run (Kevin Johnson run), 11:04 first.
MC- Johnson 3-yard run (Ray Cantelo kick), 4:01 first.
MC- Lawson 93-yard run (Cantelo kick), 0:59 first.
MC- Lawson 65-yard run (Cantelo kick), 7:32 second.
MC- Jah'mar Daniel 1-yard run (kick failed), 3:53 second.
MC- Daniel 27-yard pass from Ronald Thomas (Ray Cantelo kick), 1:30 third.
MC- Lawson 4-yard run (Cantelo kick), 0:35 fourth.

Rushing: MC- Lawson 8-237 (4 TD), Daniel 13-158 (TD), Anjay Rush 2-35, Johnson 3-7 (TD). SJ- Christian Westbrook 7-32, Naqi Shaheed-Owens 7-11, Mekhi Eiland 2-2, Ja'Vontay Bright 1-(minus 4), Ezekial Boose 1-(minus 8).
Passing: MC- Johnson 3 of 7, 15 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT; Thomas 2 of 5, 40 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. SJ- Boose 4 of 15, 104 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT; Westbrook 3 of 4, 21 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT; Eiland 0 of 1, 1 INT.
Receiving: MC- Justin Stallworth 3-29, Daniel 1-27 (TD), Lawson 1-(minus 1). SJ- Eiland 4-71, Tim Shannon 2-31, Bright 1-23.
Interceptions: Bryce Jackson (MC), 2. Mike Laudando (SJ).

GAME 3:  Marian Central Catholic 21, Marian Catholic 0

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 at Marian Central Catholic High School.
1001 McHenry Avenue, Woodstock.
2019 records: Marian Catholic 2-0; Marian Central Catholic 0.
Last week: Marian Catholic 56, Gary Bowman 14; Marian Central 38, Lindblom 0.
Spartans- 2 wins; Hurricanes- 2 wins.
Last year: Marian Central 32, Marian Catholic 20.
Next week: Marian Catholic at St. Joseph, Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Marian Central at Saint Viator, Fri., 7:30 p.m.
The series: Marian Central has won all three ESCC meetings, beginning in 2014. The Spartans won the only other contest with a 27-13 decision in 1982.
  • Marian Catholic is seeking its first 3-0 start since the 2009 campaign.
  • Friday's matchup represents a crossover in the new CCL-ESCC league.
  • Spartan junior Tajheem Lawson has scored four TD in each of Marian Catholic's first two games.
  • The tilt matches the Spartan offense (119 points) vs. a stingy Hurricane defense (0 points allowed).
  • MCC represents one of two traditional ESCC foes on the 2019 schedule (Benet Academy).
  • The Spartan offense has featured 12 scoring drives of five plays or fewer this year.
  • The lone previous meeting to be played in Woodstock resulted in a 42-0 Hurricane victory in 2014.
  • Marian looks to win its first road contest since 2011 at Saint Patrick.

Sept. 13 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
14 0 7 0 -21

Spartans stymied in CCL-ESCC visit to Marian Central Catholic

   Something had to give Friday night when a Marian Catholic offense averaging nearly 60 points per game visited a Marian Central Catholic squad that owned two shutouts.
   At the end of the night, the host Hurricanes notched their third straight shutout with a 21-0 decision in the teams' first-ever CCL-ESCC crossover battle.
   Coming off a pair of blowout wins at home to open the campaign, the Spartans managed just four first downs and 51 total yards on offense Friday.
   Marian Catholic gained a first down on its second possession and notched a pair behind reserve quarterback Kevin Johnson in the final period, but punted the ball on six of seven total possessions and saw the other end with an interception.
   The Spartan defense performed admirably. Led by linebackers Fred Garcia, Dylan Ross, Joseph Mascolino and Wande Oluwibe, the defense kept the visitors within striking distance. Although Marian Central had 362 total yards, the Spartans threw the Hurricanes for losses on 10 occasions- keyed by sacks from Garcia and Joshua Coats.
  However, the Marian Catholic offense was never able to take advantage, as the visitors' deepest penetration of the night was the Hurricane 45-yard line. MCC ran 70 offensive plays to the Sparfans' 30, as Marian Catholic possessed the ball for just 12:16.
  The lone first down of the opening half was a 14-yard burst by Tajheem Lawson. However, Lawson- owner of eight touchdowns this year, managed just 22 yards on seven totes for the night. He was never successfully found in the passing game, as the Spartans' first six aerial attempts of the night fell incomplete.
   The top drive of the night for the Spartans was their last. After QB Johnson hit Justin Stallworth for 7 yards, the signal-caller moved the chains with a 7-yard scramble. Another toss to Jah'mar Daniel netted 8 yards before Ernest Tetter rushed for the first down.
   However, two plays later from the MCC 45, an interception ended any chance of a Marian Catholic score for the night.
   For the evening, the Spartans finished with 19 rushing yards and 32 yards through the air.
   Marian Catholic will try to build on some early-season success next Friday when it travels to Elmhurst College for a CCL-ESCC Red Division contest against St. Joseph at 7:30 p.m.
   Sophomores: The young Spartans were handed their first setback with a 20-0 loss to the Hurricanes.
CATEGORY Marian Catholic Marian Central Catholic
First downs 4 21
Rush attempts / yards 12-19 56-232
Passing yards 32 130
Pass completions 4 7
Pass attempts 18 14
Had intercepted 1 0
Fumbles / lost 1 / 0 2 / 0
Penalty Yards 1-15 3-20
Next at St. Joseph at Saint Viator


MCC- Thomas Novakowski 59- yard pass from Brendan Hernon (Marlon Pomili kick), 6:53 first.
MCC- Hernon 4-yard run (Pomili kick), 0:01 first.
MCC- Hernon 8-yard run (Pomili kick), 9:49 third.

Rushing: MC- Tajheem Lawson 7-22, Kevin Johnson 1-7, Ernest Tetter 1-3, Anjay Rush 1-0, Ronald Thomas 2-(minus 13). MCC- Luke Rogers 29-141, Hernon 22-51 (2 TD), Owen Stanko 4-31, Austin Geils 1-9.
Passing: MC- Thomas 2 of 12, 17 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT; Johnson 2 of 6, 15 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT. MCC- Hernon 7 of 14, 130 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT.
Receiving: MC- Jah'mar Daniel 2-15, Victor Cooksey 1-10, Justin Stallworth 1-7. MCC- Novakowski 2-69 (TD), Joe Cimino 1-20, Brian Hopp 1-16, Stanko 2-15, Bryce Shelton 1-10.
Interceptions: Owen Stanko (MCC).

GAME 2:  Marian Catholic 56, Gary Bowman 14

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6 at Dave Mattio Field, Spartan Stadium.
Joe Orr Road, just west of Ashland Avenue, Chicago Heights.
$5 Adults; $4 Students; $3 Marian ID; $2 Seniors; $1 Grade School.
2019 records:
Bowman 0-2; Marian Catholic 1-0.
Last week: East Chicago 41, Bowman 26; Marian Catholic 63, Oak Lawn 7.
 Eagles- 5 losses; Spartans- 1 win.
Last year: Teams did not meet.
Next week: Bowman at Gary West Side, Fri., 8 p.m.; Marian Catholic at Marian Central Catholic, Fri., 7:30 p.m.
The series: This represents the first meeting between the schools.
  • Marian Catholic is seeking its first 2-0 start since the 2013 campaign.
  • The Spartans scored in six different ways last week (pass, rush, safety, kickoff return-2, fumble return, interception return).
  • Marian's last meeting with an Indiana squad resulted in a 63-7 victory over Indianapolis Arlington in 2002.
  • The Spartans will open play in the new CCL-ESCC league next week wtih a visit to Marian Central Catholic.
  • Marian's 28-point first-quarter output last week would have been a season-high in 2018.
  • After opening weekend, the newly-formed CCL-ESCC posted a 17-7 mark in nonconference play.
  • The Spartans are eyeing their first back-to-back home wins since 2013.

Sept. 6 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
7 14 14 21 -56

Spartans roll past Gary Bowman to improve to 2-0 mark

   Marian Catholic's defense didn't do a bad job for being on the field all night on Friday.
   With the Spartan offense rolling up 56 points while using only 33 offensive snaps, the defense shined in playing big minutes Friday in Chicago Heights.
   The superb efforts of both units led the host Spartans to a 56-14 nonconference victory over Gary Bowman Academy.
   Tajheem Lawson was incredibly efficient for the Spartans, who improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2013.
   The junior tailback carried just 12 times, but rambled for 243 yards and touchdown runs of 17, 74, 92 and 55 yards.
   Meanwhile, a defense led up front by Justin Stallworth, Anjay Rush, Zack Carson, Kendall Thomas, Rhashid Wilborn and Derek Marin-Martinez, limited the Eagles (0-3) to just 2.9 yards per snap. Marian held Bowman to negative or zero yards on the ground on 10 occasions, as Rush, Wilborn and Joseph Mascolino collected sacks.
   Bowman possessed the ball for nearly 31 of the 48 minutes and managed just 2.6 yards per first-down play, while the Spartans averaged more than 17 yards per first-down play.
   A Marian secondary sparked by Elijah Barnes, Jah'mar Daniel, Bryce Jackson, Justin Young and Josh Coats limited the Eagles to a 39 percent completion percentage and Wilborn added an interception.
   Bowman scored first, but the Spartans scored often in notching their first back-to-back home wins in six seasons. Along with a pair of first-half scores from Lawson, quarterback Ronald Thomas hit paydirt on a 3-yard bootleg to spark Marian to a 21-6 halftime advantage.
   To open the second half, Josh Coats returned a kickoff the distance for a second straight week, scampering 87 yards for a score. The fourth of eight conversion kicks by Ray Cantelo had Marian in full command at 28-6.
   Before the third period concluded, the Spartans added to the lead when Thomas hit Victor Cooksey for a 39-yard aerial score.
   The Spartans capped off their second straight triumph with three fourth-quarter scores, Lawson tallying twice and reserve quarterback Kevin Johnson dashing 20 yards for the final score.
   Lawson constructed his huge night behind strong offensive line efforts from Dylan Ross, Craig Morrison, Aidan Vanderwall, Josh Hybert, Kendall Thomas and Wilborn.
   While the efficient ground attack netted 260 yards for Marian, Thomas finished an equally efficient six of nine for 88 yards, hitting Justin Stallworth twice for 42 yards.
   Having scored 119 points in a pair of nonconference victories, Marian will take its act on the road Friday to start the CCL-ESCC portion of the ledger with a visit to Marian Central Catholic for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The Hurricanes (2-0) have kicked off the season with two shutout victories.
   Sophomores: The young Spartans notched their second straight shutout with a 16-0 nonconference victory over Aurora Christian.
CATEGORY Bowman Academy Marian Catholic
First downs 13 10
Rush attempts / yards 26-68 21-260
Passing yards 110 90
Pass completions 14 7
Pass attempts 36 12
Had intercepted 1 0
Fumbles / lost 2 / 0 1 / 0
Penalty Yards 6-45 8-81
Next at Gary West Side at Marian Central Catholic


BA- Marselis Peavy 10-yard pass from George Johnson (run failed), 9:53 first.
 Tajheem Lawson 17-yard run (Ray Cantelo kick), 3:52 first.
MC- Lawson 74-yard run (Cantelo kick), 5:56 second.
MC- Ronald Thomas 3-yard run (Cantelo kick), 0:32 second.
MC- Josh Coats 87-yard kickoff return (Cantelo kick), 11:47 third.
MC- Victory Cooksey 39-yard pass from Ronald Thomas (Cantelo kick), 8:40 third.
BA- Peavy 4-yard run (Johnson to Ezekiel Sankey pass), 3:16 third.
MC- Lawson 92-yard run (Cantelo kick), 9:37 fourth.
MC- Lawson 55-yard run (Cantelo kick), 8:02 fourth.
MC- Kevin Johnson 20-yard run (Cantelo kick), 6:27 fourth.

Rushing: BA- Jontae Hurt 11-33, Sevion Nelson 2-27, Peavy 7-16 (TD), Johnson 5-2, Jaleal Hurt 1-(minus 10). MC- Lawson 12-243 (4 TD), Johnson 2-36 (TD), Anjay Rush 3-8, Thomas 1-3 (TD), Eddie Goff 1-2, Ernest Tetter 1-(minus 2), Ray Cantelo 1-(minus 30).
Passing: BA- Johnson 14 of 36, 110 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. MC- Thomas 6 of 9, 88 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; Johnson 1 of 3, 2 yards.
Receiving: BA- Nelson 3-38, Sankey 5-26, Stefan White 1-18, Hurt 3-17, Peavy 2-13 (TD). MC- Justin Stallworth 2-42, Cooksey 1-39 (TD), Brandon Kelly 3-7, Coats 1-2.
Interceptions: Rhashid Wilborn (MC).

GAME 1: Marian Catholic 63, Oak Lawn 7

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30 at Dave Mattio Field, Spartan Stadium.
Joe Orr Road, just west of Ashland Avenue, Chicago Heights.
$5 Adults; $4 Students; $3 Marian ID; $2 Seniors; $1 Grade School.
2018 records:
Oak Lawn 2-7; Marian Catholic 1-8.
Streaks: Oak Lawn- 6 losses; Marian Catholic- 7 losses.
Last year: Oak Lawn 28, Marian Catholic 22.
Next week: Wilmington at Oak Lawn, Fri., 7 p.m.; Gary Bowman Academy at Marian, Fri., 7 p.m.
The series: Oak Lawn has prevailed in the last two seasons, the only meetings in the series.
  •  Marian Catholic is hoping to win its fifth season opener in the last seven years.
  •  Marian returns nine of 11 starters on its defense.
  •  The host Spartans scored via rush, pass, special teams and kicking game in last year's meeting.
  •  The host Spartans will be seeking their first IHSA playoff appearance since 2010.

Aug. 30 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
28 22 13 0 -63

Marian rolls past Oak Lawn for revenge to open new campaign

   It had to be a good omen for host Marian Catholic Friday when senior Josh Coats returned the game's opening kickoff for a 91-yard touchdown.
   Good vibes it was, as the Spartans scored in six different ways and rolled to a 63-7 nonconference demolition of Oak Lawn to avenge back-to-back season-opening losses.
   Marian, which tied a school-record for points and margin of victory, swelled the lead to 50-0 by halftime and scored the contest's first 63 points before Oak Lawn found the end zone in the game's final two minutes.
  Seeking its first 2-0 start since 2013, Marian will host Gary Bowman Academy next Friday at 7 p.m.
  On this opening Friday, the Spartans scored by rush, pass, two kickoff returns, a safety, and fumble and interception returns as all facets of the Marian game got into the act.
  After scoring more than 28 points only once last season, Marian did so in the first quarter on Friday.
  The Spartan defense forced a punt on its first opportunity and the offense responded with a 22-yard drive that culminated when 335-pound fullback Darius Mahone barreled into the end zone. One drive later, Spartan quarterback Ronald Thomas hit Tajheem Lawson with an 8-yard scoring toss.
  Rounding out the opening period, Spartan Justin Stallworth picked up a fumble and rambled 32 yards for a score. When Ray Cantelo booted his fourth of seven conversion kicks, Marian held a 28-0 command with 2:17 to play in the first quarter.
   Lawson added three more touchdowns in the second quarter on runs of 38 and 4 yards to go with a 49-yard kickoff return for a score. The final tally followed an Oak Lawn safety, when a bad snap forced the punter to kick the ball out of the end zone.
   For the night, Lawson finished with 86 rushing yards on nine tries, 39 receiving yards on a pair of catches and four total touchdowns.
   With a defense led up front by Stallworth, Mahone and Kendall Thomas, along with linebackers Beckett Clasen, Fred Garcia and Joe Mascolino, Marian had the outcome well in hand by halftime.
   Nevertheless, the Spartans scored the first two times they touched the ball in the second half.
  On the opening drive of the third period, Elijah Barnes picked off a pass and raced 85 yards for a score. Following a three-and-out, Marian completed a four-play, 54-yard march when quarterback Kevin Johnson skipped around end for a 10-yard score.
   With the brilliant defensive and special teams play, Marian only needed to generate 244 total yards of offense on Friday. Starting quarterback Ronald Thomas finished three of five for 79 yards with a long-gainer of 40 yards on a connection to Kendall Thomas. Marian gained 165 yards on the ground, as Lawson and Eddie Goff each had 38-yard rushes.
   Behind strong offensive line play from Josh Hybert, Aidan Vanderwall, Craig Morrison, Dylan Ross, Zack Carson and Kendall Thomas, Marian averaged 7.5 yards per rushing attempt.
   The win improved Marian to a 5-2 mark in its last seven opening games.
   Sophomores: The varsity tuneup also proved successful, as the young Spartans rolled to a 50-0 verdict over Oak Lawn.
CATEGORY Oak Lawn Marian Catholic
First downs 9 7
Rush attempts / yards 43-99 22-165
Passing yards 62 79
Pass completions 7 3
Pass attempts 20 6
Had intercepted 1 0
Fumbles / lost 2 / 1 4 / 2
Penalty Yards 4-31 3-35


MC- Josh Coats 91-yard kickoff return (Ray Cantelo kick), 11:47 first.
MC- Darius Mahone 1-yard run (Cantelo kick), 7:33 first.
MC- Tajheem Lawson 31-yard pass from Ronald Thomas (Cantelo kick), 3:16 first.
MC- Justin Stallworth 32-yard fumble return (Cantelo kick), 2:17 first.
MC- Lawson 38-yard run (Cantelo), 11:45 second.
MC- Lawson 4-yard run (Cantelo), 3:55 second.
MC- Safety, ball kicked out of end zone, 1:30 second.
MC- Lawson 49-yard kickoff return (kick blocked), 1:22 second.
MC- Elijah Barnes 85-yard interception return (kick blocked), 8:39 third.
MC- Kevin Johnson 10-yard run (Cantelo kick), 2:26 third.
OL- Julian Birdine 4-yard run (Michael Conroy kick), 1:52 fourth.

Rushing: OL- Birdine 19-49 (TD), Jordan Sprycha 5-42, Anthony Uriarte 6-17, Adam Alcantar 2-12, Kevin Swatek 1-8, Chris Gallagher 9-(minus 2), Chris Czopek 1-(minus 27); MC- Lawson 9-86, Eddie Goff 1-38, Ernest Tetter 3-18, Johnson 4-14, Thomas 2-5, Anjay Rush 2-3, Mahone 1-1.
Passing: OL- Gallagher 7 of 20, 62 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT. MC- Thomas 3 of 5, 79 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; Johnson 0 of 1.
Receiving: OL- Sprycha 2-36, Alcantar 5-26; MC- Kendall Thomas 1-40; Lawson 2-39.
Interceptions: Barnes (MC).