WOODSTOCK — A sluggish second half against East Suburban Catholic Conference Purple rival St. Patrick spelled the end of Marian Central's playoff chances on Friday night.
The Hurricanes (4-5, 1-2) couldn't hold on to a pair of first-half, one-touchdown leads, and watched the Shamrocks score 19 unanswered points to rally for a 26-14 victory.
St. Pat's senior quarterback Aidan Larson, who completed 11-of-18 passes for 108 yards, tossed two of his three TD passes in the first half. Both were to senior receiver Victor Matkowski, from 15 and 7 yards. But the Shamrocks still trailed at intermission, 14-13, following a missed extra point.
Things were going well for the Hurricanes until midway through the third quarter, when Shamrocks defensive back Jimmy Finnegan picked off Marian QB Brendan Hernon's pass at the Shamrocks' 43-yard-line.
That led to a 43-yard touchdown run less than two minutes later from Anthony Fitzpatrick (five carries, 73 yards).
"There's no doubt that turnover cost us," Marian coach Darren Fortin said. "We were driving in their territory with a chance to extend our lead, and from then on, the momentum was all going the opposite way."
The Shamrocks (3-6, 2-1) struck again in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, when Larson hooked up with Edison Lane on a 12-yard pass over the middle for a TD, to complete the scoring.
The methodical drive lasted more than five minutes and was typical of St. Pat's ball-control efforts on Friday.
Marian also had three turnovers.
"St. Pat's just did a real nice job in that second half putting drives together," Fortin said. "We couldn't get off the field a couple times, and whenever you start losing the field position and turnover battle, this is the end result."
St. Patrick's Eric Wozny Jr. (29 carries, 109 yards) was the game's lone 100-yard rusher. Luke Rogers (13 carries, 57 yards), and Hernon (nine carries, 30 yards) led the way on the ground for the Hurricanes.
Fortin thanked his players, in particular his departing ones.
"Our guys gave it their best effort all year long, so I can't thank them enough for that," Fortin said. "Especially with this being my first season as the head coach here.
"Their job now is, if they want to get better, is to hit that weight room tomorrow, and make every day this offseason count. If we can do that, we'll see progress a year from now. Each individual must be accountable to themselves and their teammates."
STAR OF THE GAME
Joe Cimino, Marian Central, jr., WR/DB
Cimino finished with four receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown.
St. Patrick 0 13 7 6 --- 26
Marian Central 7 7 0 0 --- 14
M-Cimino 15 pass from Hernon (Pomili kick), 1:01
SP-Matkowski 15 pass from Larson (Lane kick), 9:59
M-Geils 1 run (Pomili kick), 6:50
SP-Matkowski 7 pass from Larson (kick failed), 0:50
SP-Fitzpatrick 43 run (Lane kick), 5:16
SP-Lane 12 pass from Larson (kick failed), 11:08
RUSHING-Marian Central: Rogers 13-57, Hernon 9-30, Geils 1-6, Team yards 3- -minus 27. Totals: 26-66. St. Patrick: Wozny Jr. 29-109, Fitzpatrick 5-73, Young 3-15, Larson 1-8, Matkowski 1-3. Totals: 39-208.
PASSING-Marian Central: Hernon 12-17-2-146. St. Patrick: Larson 11-18-1-108.
RECEIVING-Marian Central: Cimino 4-55, Shelton 1-31, Hopp 1-23, Stanko 3-17, Novakoski 2-14, Geils 1-6, St. Patrick: Matkowski 4-45, Fitzpatrick 4-36, Lane 2-18, Ryle 1-9.
TOTAL TEAM YARDS-St, Patrick 316, Marian Central 212