The Marist Red Foxes (5-4, 5-2) posted the most dominant performance of the season against the Presbyterian Blue Hose (2-8, 0-7). Without leading wide receiver Dwayne Menders, the Red Foxes’ offense stunted on the Blue Hose on its own field, winning 57-32. Marist’s last game scoring that many points came in 1998.
Presbyterian’s head coach Kevin Kelley is famous for his unique gameplan, which includes never punting, calling for a fair catch on every kick off and only onside kicking. The video-game-like philosophy has been ineffective in the Pioneer Football League due to his awful defensive unit.
Each team traded quick blows to start off the game. The Blue Hose went right down the field and scored in less than two minutes on a wide open touchdown pass to wide receiver Kiaran Turner. Marist recovered the onside kick and responded with a three-play drive capped off by a touchdown catch by Sydney Person, his first of the season.
Presbyterian’s run game dominated thanks to the shifty, hard-nosed running from Delvecchio Powell II, who ran for 72 yards and a touchdown in just the first quarter. His elusiveness and Presbyterian’s run blocking created chances for big gains time after time. The Blue Hose wasn’t as successful in the passing game, though.
Marist’s defense put the pressure on Presbyterian quarterback Ren Hefley, sacking him four times in the first half. The Foxes also intercepted him three times in just the first half. Safety Clay Fields III snagged his fourth pick on the year while safety Paul Olivett and linebacker Aurthur Pinckney each recorded their first.
The Foxes drove the Blue Hose mad on defense all day. They forced six total turnovers and made Hefley’s life miserable whenever he dropped back to pass. Although Powell played a terrific game, he couldn’t prevent the Foxes from shutting down the Presbyterian offense.
The Marist offense, usually a slow-and-steady offense, made big gain after big gain against an aggressive Presbyterian defense. All but one of their touchdowns were on plays that started less than 15 yards from the endzone. The one touchdown that wasn’t that far out was set up by a 51-yard gain by running back Mekhai Johnson on a screen pass.
The Foxes were able to put together a scoring drive with under 1:10 in the first half. A 25-yard rush from Dazhon Miller helped set up a 33-yard touchdown reception from Brett Landis. The touchdown was their third in three drives.
Marist opened the third quarter on the Presbyterian 46-year line. Hunter Cobb exploded for a 43-yard gain and then finished off the rest on the next play with a touchdown. Less than a minute into the second half, the Foxes posted the highest-scoring game of the season.
Johnson also pounded the opposing defense on the ground. He hit the gaps created by the offensive line with perfection and broke off big plays. Day spread the ball out to all of his receivers. The Red Foxes’ 33 first-half points were the highest of the season by a lot.
All Marist did throughout the second half was build their lead more, going up 50-14 entering the fourth quarter. The Blue Hose tacked on a trio of garbage time touchdowns to make the deficit smaller but it didn’t change the fact that the Foxes completely dominated this game after the first quarter.
Day finished the game with 265 passing yards and 47 rushing yards, completing 15 passes in 26 attempts and a season-high four passing touchdowns. Johnson tallieds two touchdowns and 51 rushing yards. Brett Landis led the Foxes in receiving yards with 73 on just two catches, one of which was a touchdown.
Hefley recorded 36 completions on 56 attempts for 348 yards, three touchdowns (two in the fourth quarter) and four picks. Powell ended the day with 115 yards and two touchdowns. Jalyn Witcher recorded 136 receiving yards on nine catches.
Marist will conclude its regular season at home next Saturday against Butler. Kick off is set for noon, and the Red Foxes will honor their senior athletes before the game starts.
Edited by Mackenzie Meaney
Photo by Jonathan Kinane