You wouldn’t know it from the final score, but Mariner was actually locked in a defensive tussle with host Bishop Verot for more than half of Friday night’s weather-delayed, 43-0 Vikings blowout victory.
Even after a 90-minute lighting delay at the end of the first quarter, Mariner (1-1) went into an abbreviated halftime trailing host Verot (2-0) only 7-0.
Beginning with William Scott’s 7-yard scoring run to make it 14-0 midway through the third quarter, though, the Vikings could do little wrong, while the Tritons were lucky to get off a successful play.
“That kind of hurt us a little bit,” Verot coach Bill Shields said of the long delay and numerous false starts for the teams getting back on the field amid intermittent lightning strikes.
“What’s most important to us is our district games. We look at this as a step that we’re getting better, and we’re preparing for people on the road.”
Following Scott’s score, his first of two touchdowns on a night he rushed 16 times for 125 yards, Mariner muffed the ensuing pooch kickoff. Verot needed five plays to capitalize, going ahead 20-0 on sophomore Deven Thompkins’ 13-yard run.
Mariner went three-and-out before Verot went up 27-0 on Scott’s second score, from 16 yards. The play was set up by Alex McDougall’s 41-yard completion to senior Cooper Gibson.
Things only got worse from there for Mariner.
Junior quarterback Cairo Jeunegens’ rifle pass over the middle went off a receiver’s shoulder pads to Gibson, who returned it 35 yards to the Mariner 20. Three plays later, Thompkins went in for his second score, from the 9, to make it 33-0 opening the fourth quarter.
Mariner fumbled away the ball on first down on its next series – one of four fumbles on the night, three for turnovers – to set up Nathan Holmes’ 25-yard field goal and a running clock.
“The bottom line is we didn’t play as a team. We had kids doing things as individuals and nobody trusting in what we coached them,” Mariner coach Travis Smith said. “They can be good. We’re going to bounce back from it. This might have been good for us.”
Verot took a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter after Mariner fumbled away its first offensive play. Thompkins had runs of 12 and 14 yards to set up Gibson’s 5-yard scoring run.
Mariner answered with the first of two long ball-control possessions in the first half. But its 10-play drive ended with a mix-up in the backfield and a rushing loss on third down.
After Tritons punter Noah Wren pinned Verot at the 2, the Vikings went 95 yards down to the 3 yard line with a 17-play drive that spanned the 90-minute lightning delay.
But Scott, who ran for more than 1,200 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, was stuffed at the line on first-and-goal from the 3 and coughed up the ball.
Mariner pushed the ball to midfield with 16 plays. But the second time that Jeunegens was sacked on third down on the drive – this time without an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Verot – ended the march.
Mariner | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | FINAL 0
Bishop Verot | 7 | 0 | 20 | 16 | FINAL 43
V: Cooper Gibson 5 run (Nathan Holmes kick)
V: William Scott 7 run (Holmes kick)
V: Deven Thompkins 13 run (kick failed)
V: Scott 16 run (Holmes kick)
V: Thompkins 9 run (kick blocked)
V: Holmes 25 FG
V: Korey Besse 14 run (Holmes kick)