Marinette’s Caylubb Maske finds running room in the second half of Friday’s home win over Oconto Falls. Maske rushed for 207 yards.EagleHerald/Jody Korch
Marinette’s Caylubb Maske finds running room in the second half of Friday’s home win over Oconto Falls. Maske rushed for 207 yards.
EagleHerald/Jody Korch
MARINETTE - Bottom line, the Marinette Marines overcame a boat load of adversity to beat Oconto Falls 14-7 Friday night at Higley Stadium.
Never mind how they got the win - that's for the coaches to dissect in film study. They'll cringe at the numerous mistakes which gave Falls one golden opportunity after another.
"Wasn't what we expected, but a win's a win," Marinette senior linebacker Josh Lapacz said. "We worked hard at it."
The game ended on a fourth-down spike to kill the clock with Falls in Marine territory following an onside kick. There were other zany Friday the 13th moments. A punt snap sailed over Marcus Maguire's head, setting up Falls' only score, which occurred on a broken play. Falls was whistled for five offsides penalties in the first 12:30.
Pretty? No. Entertaining? Absolutely.
"Honestly we're happy to get out of here with a win," Marine head coach Andy Walters said. "Would we have liked to win in a different fashion? Yes."
Falls stuffed Marinette's first three plays and Connor Shefcik returned the punt 25 yards to the Marine 36-yard line. The drive stalled at the Marine 14-yard line, and Alex Johnson's 32-yard field goal try fell well short.
Falls drove 48 yards with its second possession but stalled at the 10, and Luke Johnson intercepted a pass on a fake field goal.
Marinette's first two drives netted nothing, but the offense began controlling the line of scrimmage in the second quarter. Tailback Caylubb Maske blew through a hole off left tackle and raced 69 yards for a touchdown. Austin Mahlik's extra point gave the Marines a 7-0 lead with 10:36 in the half.
Personal foul and offsides penalties gave the Panthers two first downs, and they drove to the Marine 6. But after successfully running the ball all half, they tried a pass on fourth-and-1, and Johnson broke it up.
"That's a tribute to Marinette's defense," Falls coach Jeff Trochil said. "They did exactly the same thing against Denmark. Inside the red zone, that was obviously the crucial part of the game."
Falls drove inside the 20 for the fourth time in the half, but Lapacz intercepted a Sam Konitzer pass at his own 11.
"We stopped them again and again," Lapacz said. "It's a lot of pressure on you but you've just got to focus on what you've got to do."
The Marines fumbled the ball away on their first possession of the second half. On their second possession, Maske broke loose for a 62-yard run. That set up Maguire's 3-yard touchdown pass to Maske for a 14-0 lead with 3:40 in the third quarter.
Maske and Johnson, both sophomores, made numerous big plays. Maske rushed for 207 yards on 15 carries. Johnson read a slant pattern for his second interception of the game to stop a fourth-down play.
The bad punt snap gave the Panthers the ball at the Marine 30 with 2:47 remaining. Konitzer avoided a sack, scrambled, and hit Dillon Curl with a 19-yard TD pass with 1:43 remaining.
Austin Kowalczyk recovered the onside kick.
Shefcik rushed for 159 yards on 28 attempts, and Falls ground out 244 rushing yards.
"Their kids came ready to play and ours didn't," Walters said. "They came out and smacked us in the teeth. We're not a good enough team to think we're that much better than anyone. Hopefully that's a lesson learned. We're just making too many of the same mistakes over and over."
Marinette (2-2) was shorthanded from a rash of injuries at West De Pere last week, so Walters was proud of players for stepping into starting roles and others who played both ways.
Falls fell to 0-3.
"Very disappointed we didn't get the win, but I guess Marinette earned it over us," Trochil said.