Expect the onside kick to be a regular feature for the Saint Patrick Saints this season.
In fact, don’t expect anything else for the senior boys squad.
"That's our strategy here. We're kicking it onside every single time. It worked the first two times and we'll work on that next week in practice," Marcon said on Friday, after his team successfully pulled the trick twice, leading them to a season-opening 14-8 win over the St. Ignatius Falcons at Fort William Stadium.
Marcon said there's method to the madness of his unorthodox strategy.
"Our offence has the ball, they can't score. We're going to kick it every single game," he said.
After the Saints recovered the opening kickoff, the Saints Kyle Mercier hauled in a 12-yard, first-quarter pass from St. Pat’s quarterback Jordan LeBlanc to open the scoring and give the Saints a 6-0 lead at 4:08. Mercier set up the score with a 20-yard reception that pulled St. Patrick well inside the red zone.
Fooled once, the Falcons return team was caught off-guard a second time on the ensuing kickoff, the Saints recovering their second straight.
And once again LeBlanc made the Falcons, playing under new coach Tyler Dennis, pay, leading his team on a march down the field, capping the drive with a four-yard keeper across the goal-line for the major.
He then hooked up with Jake McKee, who ran for 57 yards on the day, on a successful two-point conversion and St. Patrick’s led 14-0.
But the third – and final – onside attempt failed and the Falcons finally found their stride on offence as the second quarter reached its midway poiont.
Or, it should read, running back Liam Fors and quarterback Robert Pavletic found their games.
Fors, who finished with 116 yards on the ground and another 95 through the air, scampered for 77 of those receiving yards on a single play, racing his way to the St. Patrick three-yard line. Then, after Wyler Dawd was stuffed behind the line for a loss of two, Fors grabbed a five-yard toss from Pavletic to pull the Saints within six at the half.
“I do what I can. I train away from practice and when I go to practice I go 110 (per cent) nothing less. I want to go to the next level, so I have to step up my game here. I’m only in Grade 11 right now, so I’ve got two more years of this to go.”
It proved to be the final scoring play of the afternoon contest.
The two sides traded fumbles to open the third quarter, neither side really able to find an easy opportunity to put the ball in the end zone.
Late in the third Fors and Dawd traded runs on a drive that brought the Falcons to the St. Pat’s three-yard line once again as the fourth quarter began, but this time the Saints had the answer, a pass from Pavletic to Fors broken up by St. Pat’s linebacker Marcus Hardy to end the drive.
“The 'D' played awesome. It was huge. They're led by a lot of senior players with a lot of heart and they saved the game for us,” Marcon said.
St. Pat’s appeared to have the game in hand after St. Ignatius turned the ball over late in the fourth deep in its own territory, but a three-and-out gave the Falcons one last chance.
With hail rifling the field, Fors blasted his way down the sidelines for a 42-yard gain, then picked up another 21 on the exact same play, gaining another five reversing directions on his third carry of a drive that took them to the Saints 18. But after calling timeout Fors was stopped on his fourth carry to end the game.
"By the time we got the jitters out, it was too late," Fors said.
In other league action Friday night:
Hammarskjold 32, Superior 0: Xander Hasell rushed 12 times for 112 yards and a score and quarterback Alex Nemec-Bakk was 5-for-6 for 98 yards and a pair of scores as the Vikings opened with a convincing win over the Gryphons.
Churchill 33, Westgate 7: Jarred White rushed for 63 yards and a TD and threw for 229 more yards and two TDs, including a 36-yard strike to Devyn Chenier to open the scoring as the defnding senior champions started with a victory.
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