WOODSTOCK – For a moment, Marian Central looked poised to hang with Class 5A No. 2 Fenwick’s potent offensive attack that struck for a 78-yard touchdown on its first play from scrimmage Friday night.
But a costly first-quarter turnover by the Hurricanes on a fumbled double-reverse dashed hopes of answering with their own early score, and they never threatened the Friars.
Fenwick dominated the rest of the way en route to a 42-7 win to move to 6-2 on the season.
With the loss, Marian Central fell to 3-5 on the year.
After Fenwick’s defense forced a three-and-out on Marian Central’s opening drive, Friars quarterback Kaden Cobb launched a 78-yard bomb to senior Bryan Hunt on a play-action touchdown pass on their first offensive snap.
“Coach Tim Rooney taught me how to do that,” Hunt said in an interview as his wide receivers coach playfully asked how he made the play. “It felt really good. It was so great to be back out here. It’s kind of weird playing on a grass field, but you know adversity comes and you have to get through it.”
Marian moved the ball into Fenwick territory on the ensuing drive, picking up a first down with the help of a defensive holding penalty on a throw by senior quarterback Brendan Hernon.
That was one of several defensive penalties on pass plays that went against Fenwick on the night.
“We just keep telling them play hard,” Fenwick coach Matthew Battaglia said he told his secondary on the penalties. “A lot of those weren’t blatant pass interferences. It was keep playing hard, and sometimes you’re going to get called when you play tight coverage.”
On the same drive, the Hurricanes had the momentum-killing fumble on the second exchange of an attempted double-reverse, and Fenwick’s senior safety Jacque Walls recovered the ball near the Friars’ 40.
Fenwick was unable to take advantage of the takeaway, though, even as it used a 32-yard connection between Cobb and and senior Cam Coppage on its way to the red zone.
Marian’s defense made an impressive stand at its own 5-yard line to keep it a one-score game.
Junior defensive back Jackson Jakubowicz making a difficult third-down play on the ball to break up what would have been another Cobb touchdown pass in the end zone. The Hurricanes’ pass rush hurried Cobb on fourth down as the Friars tried to score a touchdown instead of attempting a field goal, and ensured his throw was incomplete.
Battaglia was proud his team took Marian seriously and didn’t get caught looking ahead to next week’s matchup with rival Saint Ignatius, which remained undefeated at 8-0 with its Friday win over DePaul.
“We just know we’re not done. Ignatius is 8-0 right now, and we really want to put that 8-1 on them,” Hunt said.
Battaglia is keeping his team focused, in part by concluding his postgame remarks to his players by informing them of team activities Saturday morning to begin improving for their next game.
“We lift weights, we watch film, we get better,” Battaglia said.
Marian’s sole score came on a 7-yard toss from Hernon to Colin Piedmonte with just less than six minutes to go in the game.
“We knew this was how it was going to be. We knew it was going to be tough, but we’re proud that we came out and we fought,” Hernon said. “So we’re going to focus on next week and move on, and hopefully we can get lucky and get in the playoffs.”
Marian’s roster was without key players Friday. Hernon said the Hurricanes especially missed sophomore receiver Christian Bentancur, who was out due to health and safety protocols, and running back Dante Ricciardi exited Friday’s contest with a wrist injury in the first half.
Just 26 players were available to the Hurricanes against the Friars, Marian coach Darren Fortin said.
“Our numbers are dwindling. You play this tough of a conference week in and week out, and you get banged up and bruised. We were missing Christian tonight. That’s a big loss for us. And you got kids playing out of position,” Fortin said. “Our kids battled.”
Cobb ended 11-for-22 passing for 183 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for another 90 yards, including a nice 36-yard run past Marian’s 40 in the second quarter on a drive that ended with a score in the second quarter to put Fenwick up 21-0.
The Friars picked up 203 yards and three touchdowns on the ground with 27 carries, and took a 28-0 lead into halftime. Sophomore Luke D’alise put them on the board in the second half with a 10-yard touchdown carry to push the score to 35-0.
Hernon completed 7 of 18 for 119 yards and threw an interception in the fourth to Friars’ corner Martin Paris, whose 40-plus yard touchdown on the pick was called back for a Fenwick block in the back penalty. Max Reese finished off that drive for the Friars on a 10-yard rushing touchdown to give them their final score.
The Hurricanes’ rushing game finished with 115 yards on 24 carries.