While Marist football may be in their feelings following today’s 41-17 annihilation at the hands of the Drake Bulldogs, perhaps it was God’s Plan. Their effort may have been Nonstop, but there just wasn’t enough passion(fruit) to pull out a win. A game like this is one you’d like to remove from the sports section’s Headlines. This is certainly far from the Best (Marist has) Ever Had.
Yes, Indeed, the stadium began to lack Energy the second Drake’s scoring drives became relentless. The Signs were there from the start, too. An extensive winning streak for Drake, dating seven games back. If their seasons were reduced to the one game they played against Marist each year, the Bulldogs would probably be occupants of some pretty Big Rings, conference-wise, that is.
Oh, we talkin’ teams? Oh we talkin’ teams? No, no, let’s talk stats. Austin Day – back from injury; he was the Furthest Thing from healthy last week, as Marist called on Luke Strnad for backup – started the game rather accurate. Not 8 out of 10, but four-for-five, though every drive ended in a punt. Over the course of the first quarter, Marist never got across midfield, a trend that would eventually become persistent. Drake, on the other hand, was on their Worst Behavior. An early touchdown from Ian Corwin to receiver Devin Cates would open the scoring, and a second, this one to Shane Feller, would give the visitors a 13-0 lead to close the first.
That lead is far from insurmountable. The sideline chatter probably included a few “We’ll Be Fine” reassurances, maybe even a “U With Me?”
Drake, though, had their eyes fixed on the figurative Trophies. They’d score another 14 in the second – within 24 seconds of each other, in fact, one thanks to an interception thrown by Day – in contrast to a dismal three from the Marist offense. It’s probably pretty easy to figure out who was more Successful. Come the first half’s close, the Bulldogs led 27-3. But, in the (probable) words of Marist coaches and captains, “We Still Here.”
Barely. They’d score once early, a 39-yard floating pass from Day to wide receiver Anthony Olivencia, just like in Practice. They got the ball back quickly, hoping for an inkling of Redemption, but to no avail. A turnover on downs would hand Drake the ball once again, this football game not-so far from Over.
Is There More? Of course there was. A 29-yard touchdown reception from Corwin to Steven Doran capped off a nine-play drive and increased the Bulldogs’ lead to 24. A 56-yard touchdown run from Caden Meis made it 41-10. Get It Together, shouted fans, though many had told their family members and friends, “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” Each Marist possession felt like Forever. A late-game touchdown pass from Luke Strnad – taking over for Day once the game got out of hand – to Cade McNaughton drew a few claps. But as a whole, it was ugly. Dropped passes, lost yardage, hanging heads. Not a lot of Fancy or Finesse; a ton of Fear. They were just Doing It Wrong.
There’s a word often bounced around in football locker rooms: family. Marist is no exemption. Many of players have called their teammate a brother; and as the saying goes, Keep the Family Close. When offensive lineman Ian Grant suffered a scary injury and required a stretcher to be carted off, the entire sideline cleared, joining Grant on the field as he was attended to by Marist’s medical staff. If there’s one positive to take away from today, it’s that Lord Knows this team sticks together, win or lose.
Marist has Started from (and played from) the Bottom before. That’s part of The Ride. They’re Used To it. They can’t Shut It Down yet. The goal is Draft Day, right? Not quite yet, though. San Diego, a tougher test, comes next week. We’ll have to see if the Red Foxes have the Fire & Desire to walk out victors then.
Edited by Doug Johnston