Chicago Heights, IL-(ENEWSPF)- There was plenty of energy on Friday at Marian Catholic. An enthusiastic Homecoming crowd. The return of injured Kameron Floyd to Spartan Stadium.
The energy carried over to the field for much of the contest. Seeking its first ESCC win since 2011, Marian was tied at halftime and scored early in the fourth quarter to pull within three points.
However, Marian Central Catholic got four of the five second-half scores to escape Dave Mattio Field with a 32-20 ESCC victory.
After MCC edged to a 23-13 command after three quarters, Marian was ignited by a 49-yard kickoff return from Carlos Jones to set up the home team at the Hurricane 30-yard line.
Playing without starting quarterback Sean Mascolino (potential concussion), the Spartans (1-3, 0-2) needed just three plays to narrow the margin. Tasheem Lawson reversed field to dash 27 yards to the 9-yard line. Two plays later, Eddie Ell swept around the right side for 7 yards and a score.
When Ray Cantelo booted the conversion, Marian was within 23-20 with 11:54 to play in the final quarter.
Sparked by a defensive line of Rhashid Wilson, Justin Stallworth, Kendall Thomas and Anjay Rush, Marian forced a punt on the next MCC possession. But seeking a tying or lead score, the Spartans were stung by their bugaboo on Friday.
Marian fumbled four times on Friday, losing three- including a critical one midway through the fourth period.
The Hurricanes made Marian pay quickly, as a one-play drive provided a 30-20 margin for the visitors.
The Spartans had three more possessions, but they resulted in a punt, fumbled punt snap for a safety and an interception in the red zone.
Statistically, the Spartans proved a good match for the Hurricanes (3-1, 1-1).
Carlos Jones, who scored on a 54-yard rush, carried 19 times for 140 yards. Lawson had 90 yards rushing on 12 totes.
Meanwhile, before getting knocked out of the contest, Mascolino tossed for 98 yards. Favorite target Eddie Ell pulled in five catches for 49 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown reception.
Facing a 13-0 deficit in the early going, Marian rallied behind an offensive line of Marco Stith, Jose Banuelos, Nathan Williams, Beckett Clasen and Josh Hybert. Mascolino completed a 70-yard drive with the 12-yard pass to Ell to make it 13-6.
Midway through the second quarter, Spartan Maison Ndonde picked off a pass to set up Marian Catholic again.
The Spartans marched 70 yards again, as Jones took a handoff on the right side and dashed around several defenders, eventually scampering to the left side for the 54-yard score.
The 13-13 halftime stalemate proved to be the closest the Spartans got to the lead all night.
Marian Catholic will try to halt its long ESCC losing streak when it takes on the last conference foe it defeated in a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday against Saint Patrick at Triton College.
Coach Kevin Kelly is the Athletic Director at Marian Catholic High School.