Marist sophomore wide receiver Stephen Brown makes a catch over a Brother Rice defender during the RedHawks' 30-24 win over the Crusaders on Sept. 1. Photo by Jason Maholy
Football | Marist prevails as Winters chills Brother Rice comeback
By Jason Maholy
“Do your job.”
Former Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau famously said it after a loss to a bad Washington Wizards team.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has been quoted saying it, too.
In both examples, the point was that each player must be singularly focused on and ultimately perform his duties to the best of his ability for the team to have its greatest chance of success.
After Marist’s players and coaches watched film of the RedHawks’ opening week loss to Glenbard West and saw how they failed to capitalize on several opportunities during that game, “do your job” became something of the team’s motto heading into its Week 2 game against rival Brother Rice.
Marist’s players did their job — at least when it mattered most — and the RedHawks scored on a 33-yard strike from Owen Winters to Stephen Brown with 38 seconds left in the game to take the Battle of Pulaski, 30-24, on Sept. 1.
The touchdown was Marist’s only score of the second half, and enabled the RedHawks to leave their home field victorious after the Crusaders had rallied from a 24-point deficit to tie the game.
“Understand that the guy next to you is going to get his job done,” Marist coach Ron Dawczak said the coaching staff emphasized to the RedHawks players last week. “You have to do your part. Take a breath, step back, understand what your job is and then go get your job done.
“Do your job.”
The Marist offensive line and wide receiver Gavin O’Brochta did their jobs on the game-winning drive. With Marist facing a third-and-6 from its own 26 with just over a minute to play, the line gave Winters time to find O’Brochta on a post toward the middle of the field for a 38-yard gain.
It was O’Brochta’s only catch of the game.
“All summer we’ve been working on that,” Winters, a senior in his first year as a starter, said of the pass to O’Brochta. “I thought he’d be open and he was there.”
Winters said he “was just throwing it up there” on the game-winning hook-up with Brown — a 6-foot-6, 180-pound sophomore with speed and athleticism.
“I thought it was awesome. It’s a great feeling,” he said of the play and winning a rivalry game ahead of a meeting with Loyola in Week 3. “We could have been better, but we played our hearts out and we got the ‘W.’”
Brown said he was ready to make a play but wasn’t overtly asking for the ball on the RedHawks’ final drive.
“Of course I want it, but I’d trust all my teammates with the ball in their hands to score a touchdown when the game counts on it,” he said. “This time it happened to be me.
“My quarterback trusted me, he threw it up, I went and got it.”
Winters finished 11-for-24 for 172 yards and one touchdown to go with 15 rushes for 94 yards, including a 21-yard scoring run. Brown had four receptions for 107 yards.
Brother Rice senior quarterback Ryan Hartz threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns on 23-of-45 passing. Dylan McDonnell caught 10 passes for 119 yards and a score.
The RedHawks defense held Rice to 25 rushing yards on 23 attempts.
Marist appeared to be running away with the game when senior linebacker Duke White returned a fumble 4 yards for a touchdown, which with the ensuing extra point gave the RedHawks a 24-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
Crusaders senior kicker Ronan Culkin drilled a 22-yard field goal with 29 seconds left in the first half to get Rice on the board, and maybe provide a little extra hope heading into the break.
The Crusaders scored on the opening drive of the second half on a 13-yard pass from Ryan Hartz to McDonnell, then found the end zone 40 seconds later when Jimmy Czerwinski blocked a punt and Conner Stack picked up the bouncing ball and returned it from 13 yards out to make it 24-17.
The Crusaders tied the game at 24 when Hartz threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Kevin Worthy as the third quarter expired.
That would be the final tally by either team until 38 seconds remained.
Dawczak said the manner in which the RedHawks won — making some big plays in big moments, overcoming adversity and Winters leading the offense to a game-winning touchdown — is a confidence-booster.
“We didn’t play a perfect game, but when they play together and they do what they’re told and they play with discipline, we’re going to be really, really tough to beat.
“We know we can do it when you do your job.”
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