YORKVILLE - It was just a matter of time before Buckeye Local's Austin Marshall would showcase his talents and to the dismay of John Marshall, he chose Friday night.
Opening the contest with a long kickoff return to set up one score and returning an interception 40 yards for six, Marshall sparked the Panthers to a 20-6 win over the Monarchs at Memorial Stadium.
Coach Phil Pest's Panthers, back in action on Sept. 15 with a 12:30 p.m. tilt at Bellaire, followed a season-opening loss at Utica and a win in the home opener last week against Pittsburgh Westinghouse with Friday night's big win.
GETTING SIX — Buckeye Local’s Devan Pyciak picks up a fumble in front of teammate Dakota Flaherty during the first half of Friday’s 20-6 win over John Marshall.
-- Joel Lovell
"We told our kids before the game that we needed to start fast and try to get a couple scores on the board early and just see how John Marshall can handle it," Pest said. "We did just that and things worked out well.
"When we had that long touchdown called back, they started to bounce back. They fought back. They are a much better team than they have been. That certainly wasn't an easy win. He has done a good job there so far.
"Marshall had a great game for us. He ran the ball well and made some very big plays. Nathan Kirk ran the offense very well and our defense gave up just six points for the second straight week.
Buckeye Local 20, John Marshall 6
John Marshall 0 6 0 0 - 6
Buckeye Local12 0 0 8 - 20
BL: Kirk 1 run (run failed)
BL: Duncan 13 pass from Kirk (pass failed)
JM: Fromhart 1 run (kick failed)
BL: Marshall 40 interception return (Duncan pass from Kirk)
RUSHING: John Marshall 51-215 (Fromhart, 20-84-1; Woods, 18-61-0; Kibert, 9-47-0, Morgan, 9-47-0, Galentine, 2-6-0. Buckeye Local 30-138 (Marshall, 17-70-0; Stock, 7-63-0; Pyciak, 3-4-0; Kirk, 3-1-1).
PASSING: John Marshall 7-12-63-0-2 (all by Fromhart). Buckeye Local 5-8-59-1-0 (all by Kirk).
RECEIVING: John Marshall: Magers, 4-42-0; Betras, 2-14; Morgan, 2-7-0. Buckeye Local: Duncan, 2-42-1; Stock, 3-17.
FIRST DOWNS: John Marshall 19; Buckeye Local 8
PENALTIES: John Marshall 7-47; Buckeye Local 5-52
FUMBLES: John Marshall 2-1; Buckeye Local 0-0.
"Christian Hopkins punted very well and put them in the hole a few times. That helps us a great deal. We're still making some mistakes. We can't give up yards and we can't have dumb penalties. We're not good enough for that yet.
"I knew our secondary would be much better this year. We have a lot of people back. Our defense is getting better, we just have to figure out how to slow Bellaire down next week."
With good field position, the Panthers needed four plays to get on the board after Marshall's kickoff return. Marshall ran off the right side for eight before the speedy Andy Stock broke off the left side for 24 yards to the 1. Two plays later Nathan Kirk scored on a keeper. The hosts led by 6-0 with 10:21 on the clock.
Regaining possession with 8:11 left in the first, the Panthers put together an 80-yard, eight-play drive. With Marshall, Devan Pyciak and Stock moving the ball to the 37 on consecutive carries. Shane Duncan made an excellent catch of a Kirk pass covering 29 yards and a face mask infraction pushed the hosts to the 19. Three plays later, Kirk rifled a bullet to Duncan in the endzone from 13 yards out with 4:18 showing on the board.
John Marshall got on the board in the second with a well-engineered 60-yard drive hat featured 10 rushes including a 15-yarder by Jacob Woods that set up Jeremiah Fromhart's 1-yard plunge for a score with 2:58 left in the half.
John Marshall offense was responsible for keeping the Buckeye offense off the field in the second quarter, giving the hosts time enough to run only four plays. In the third session, the Monarchs appeared to be ready to again keep the Panther offense on the sidelines.
JM opened the second half with a lengthy drive that consumed nearly eight minutes and consisted of 15 plays. The Buckeye defense, sparked by Pyciak, Duncan and freshman Dylan Dokes, stuffed the Monarchs when they needed to forcing a 25-yard field goal attempt with 4:05 left in the third. The kick was wide left.
With 5:45 left in the contest, Marshall gave the Panthers some breathing room. He picked off a JM pass at the 40, cut across field, then scampered untouched to the endzone. Kirk's pass to Duncan for the PATs handed the hosts a 20-6 lead.
"We're still having trouble reaching the finish line," Monarchs first-year coach Rick Goodrich said. "We just need the first opportunity. It will happen and when it does it will just snowball from there."
"We can't complain about the effort our kids are giving us," the JM coach added."You just can't spot a team two touchdowns. We need to start better. We just need to go back to the drawing board and prepare for Oak Glen."
"Things will start to click and when they do it will just snowball. They are improving"