Football: Marian Catholic out of the gates at 2-0
By Pat Disabato email@example.com September 10, 2013 10:18PM
Stagg's Adam Pilota (7) celebrates with Amir Almasri after scoring a touchdown against Hillcrest, Monday, September 2, 2013. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 12, 2013 6:15AM
Coming off a 1-8 showing in 2012 and inheriting freshmen and sophomore teams that were a combined 0-18 a year ago, very little was expected from Marian Catholic this season.
That’s even with the hiring of Jerry Verde, a Marian Catholic alum who guided Crete-Monee to the Class 6A state championship in 2012.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and transforming the Spartans into a winner was expected to take time.
Don’t look now, but after demolishing Shepard 49-3 on Friday, Marian Catholic sits at 2-0.
“We’re pleased with the way we’ve played after two games,” Verde said. “But there’s still a long ways to go.”
The Spartans offense has thrived under Verde’s spread attack. Quarterback Pat Schmidt, running back Dillon Burns and slotback K.J. Crawford have feasted on the opposition. Burns already has six touchdowns, and Crawford crossed the goal line three times against Shepard.
A mild concern is that the Spartans have six players — Brian Richardson, Emilio Garza, Jared Rogers, Gage Bonczek, Kyle Taylor and Crawford — playing both ways. Fatigue hasn’t factored into the equation the first two weeks with Marian outscoring Hyde Park and Shepard by a combined 91-6.
A big test, however, comes Friday when Marian welcomes Carmel to Chicago Heights on a night longtime Spartans coach Dave Mattio will be honored.
Stagg out strong
Stagg, which finished 1-8 in 2012, is 2-0 under first-year coach Mike Fahey.
“The kids are hungry and getting after it,” Fahey said. “Our juniors are getting better and our seniors are doing a good job of leading.”
The Chargers beat Hillcrest 43-14 to open the season and followed with a 36-14 Homecoming win Friday over Oak Lawn.
Quarterback Adam Pilota, wide receiver Tyler Mackessy, fullback Austin Kelly, wingback Dennis Egan and offensive lineman Mantas Drukeitenis have starred on offense.
“I think we’re getting better on both sides of the ball,” Fahey said. “The offense is doing a really good job of keeping drives alive, which has helped our defense.”
The Chargers will see how far they’ve come Friday when they travel to meet 2012 Class 7A runner-up Lincoln-Way East.
“We’ll see where our program is at and where it needs to go,” Fahey said.
Player of the Week
Jack Donegan, of Marist, is the SouthtownStar Football Player of the Week. The senior quarterback completed 21-of-25 passes for 338 yards and six touchdowns in leading the RedHawks to a 55-14 win over Brother Rice.