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Football: Chris Lofgren runs for 146 yards, 4TDs as Marist rolls over Richards

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By Steve Millar
Correspondent

For the second week in a row, Marist’s players looked at the scoreboard and saw the score was 21-0 less than five minutes into the game.

This time, though, it was in the RedHawks’ favor.

After Marist’s rally from a big early deficit fell just short against Glenbard West in Week 1, the RedHawks made sure a slow start would not cost them this time. They jumped to a quick lead and rolled to a 49-6 win over host Richards on Sept. 2 in Oak Lawn.

“To get smacked in the mouth 21-0 last week, that was everything to motivate us,” Marist senior defensive back John Nestor said. “We really showed how we fought on the way back. We kept that in the back of our heads coming into this game, making sure we came out to play those first five minutes.

“After those first five minutes against Glenbard West, we were on them. So, we really focused on coming out the first five minutes and sticking it to [Richards], not taking the punch.”

Chris Lofgren was the offensive star for Marist (1-1). After barely playing in the season opener, he ran for 146 yards and four touchdowns on 20 carries. Quarterback Dermot Smyth ran for two scores.

The lone touchdown for Richards (0-2) came on a 37-yard pass from Joe Mayo to James Smith.

The RedHawks effectively put the game away early with three touchdown runs in the first five minutes – a 28-yarder by Smyth, a 1-yarder by Lofgren and a 35-yarder by Marc Coy.

“This game was big for us,” Smyth said. “We knew we had to start off fast and limit the turnovers. It feels good to get that first win. We’ve got to keep going.”

Lofgren, who watched Coy run for three touchdowns in the season opener, one-upped his backfield mate with his four scores. He had two touchdown runs in the second quarter, of 1 and 12 yards, and capped the scoring with a 21-yard dash to paydirt in the third quarter.

“I think he was just ready for the moment,” Smyth said of Lofgren. “He’s prepared really well for it. He’s practiced hard. He knew he was ready.”

The Marist defense forced three turnovers. Nestor, an Iowa recruit, had an interception, and Wisconsin recruit Jamel Howard recovered a fumble. Kamil Kokot pulled down an interception for the RedHawks. Kokot is also the team’s kicker and booted seven extra points.

“[Richards] had speed on the perimeter,” Nestor said. “We knew that coming in. Their receivers are 6’4, 6’1, and they have two big backs. We were confident coming in, though. They’re a physical team, so we just did our jobs, followed our assignments. Just looked for tackles and takeaways.

“We played our game. We were relaxed. We didn’t try to do too much. We came away with three turnovers, so that’s a win in our book.”

Marist led 28-6 after the first quarter and 42-6 at halftime. Coach Ron Dawczak was proud of the way his team bounced back from the opening-week loss.

“We talked after last week about coming out of the gates fast and playing a full 48 minutes,” Dawczak said. “That was a big thing this week and the kids did it.”

Richards, meanwhile, is looking for answers after a tough two weeks that began with a 30-2 loss to Morgan Park on opening night.

The Bulldogs jump into conference play Friday, visiting district rival Eisenhower.

“We had a couple good days of practice this week,” Richards coach Tony Sheehan said. “We got after it. I thought that was a positive going in, but we just didn’t do what we needed to do. You have to give credit to Marist. They’re a very good team.

“In the long run, these two games will help us. We’re not just playing anybody and going 2-0. We’re 0-2, but we’ve played people. We’re going to find out really quick what we’re made of. We start conference play next week and we’re going to see what we can do.”

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