LA GRANGE PARK – Marist quarterback Dermot Smyth does a little bit of everything for the RedHawks.
Actually, it was more like a lot of everything Friday for the senior signal-caller in a 31-3 defeat of host Nazareth in an CCL/ESCC crossover.
The soft-spoken Smyth completed 13-of-22 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. But just for fun he added 60 yards on the ground. That meant he accounted for 268 of the RedHawks’ 330 yards of total offense.
You’d never guess it, though, in talking to him after the game.
“We knew we had to start off fast,” Smyth said. “We upped the tempo a little bit. We knew they were going to be a good team and we had to jump on them early.
“We were just trying to do what we could do, and we did it.”
This game was the tale of two quarterbacks. Across the field was Nazareth sophomore Logan Malachuk, who hit — count ‘em — 10 different receivers en route to 18-for-33 passing and 192 yards. His favorite target was a freshman, Jake Cestone, who caught five passes for 67 yards.
The production was solid, but the score … well, not so much.
No matter. Malachuk said the first third of the season was the toughest stretch the Roadrunners (1-2) would face during the regular season, and because of those games, he’s confident going forward.
“We’re good,” Malachuk said. “That three-game stretch, that’s the toughest three-game stretch I think we’ll have all year. All three good teams, and we battled. The scoreboard might not reflect it, but I’m proud of our team.”
Marist (2-1) wasted no time generating offense in this one, with Smyth connecting with senior tight end Scott Rybak on a 19-yard touchdown pass with 9:35 to go in the first quarter That was the culmination of a seven-play, 81-yard drive.
The RedHawks were just getting started. After Nazareth’s ensuing possession went nowhere, Marist marched 62 yards in just six plays, with junior running back Marc Coy going five yards for the score.
Malachuk got picked off on the first play of Nazareth’s next possession, and Marist worked its way to the Roadrunners’ 12-yard line. The defense held the RedHawks to a field goal, making the score 17-0 at the end of the period.
Coy and his teammates didn’t look back.
“I was trying to loosen up and be cool,” said Coy, who scored a pair of touchdowns and rushed 15 times for 53 yards. “I didn’t want to think about it too much, because during the summer I had a problem with thinking about things a lot, and it kind of happened this game. I was thinking instead of reacting and running.”
For Nazareth, there’s work yet to be done, and that’s fine, according to Cestone.
“You just have to keep going, you know … don’t quit,” he said. “And this game, we were down and unfortunately we couldn’t score, but we kept going.”
Added Nazareth coach Tim Racki: “You grow up fast in this type of conference, and that’s what’s happening to these kids. It’s a long journey.”