The Marian Central Hurricanes needed victories in their last two games of the season, and they came through, earning a trip to the IHSA Class 5A playoffs.
The ’Canes defeated conference rival St. Patrick 21-14 in an away game in Chicago Oct. 22.
Quarterback Gavin Scott had a standout game, running the football for a career-high 194 yards on 27 carries and scoring two of Marian’s three touchdowns. The third touchdown came from a short run by Anthony Silva in the third quarter.
Coach Mike Maloney leaned toward a ground game once he saw what St. Patrick was doing on defense, confident in his line.
“Our guys are starting to step up,” Maloney said. “We’re no longer a young unit that is struggling to get things done. We’re starting to have a comfort zone up front, and that’s allowing our backs to have confidence in the holes and get open faster.”
Wyatt Awe, Jared Church, and Anthony Carillon each had an interception. Steve Pinter forced and recovered a fumble. On the reliably strong performance of the defense, Maloney remarked, “Our defense is very turnover and takeaway minded. I’m excited that we’re getting after the ball.” Those turnovers were key, including Pinter’s fumble recovery inside Marian’s 5, one of two times they stopped St. Patrick inside their own 10.
The Hurricanes closed out their regular season with a 5-4 overall record, and 3-4 conference record. The No. 14 Hurricanes face No. 3 Chicago Payton Prep for the first Class 5A playoff game Friday, Oct. 28.
Preparations for Payton are well underway, with the team building a plan around three specific players that have impressed the ’Canes during film review. The ’Canes will be ready.
“Our job now is to go 1-0 every week until we hit Champaign,” Maloney said.