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updated: 9/13/2013 11:25 PM

Ground game does the trick for Carmel

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By Kevin Kelly
Special to Daily Herald

Marian Catholic tried to break out some trickery on Friday night when it hosted Carmel Catholic in an East Suburban Catholic Conference opener.

It translated to some impressive numbers for senior receiver Ki-Jana Crawford, including a second-quarter touchdown.

However, Carmel just stayed with it old tricks. While Crawford's score was the lone one for Marian, Carmel rushed the ball down the Spartans' throats for a 41-7 victory to spoil things for the home team on a night that Marian named its field after 37-year retired head coach Dave Mattio.

Carmel outrushed the Spartans by a 270-49 margin, with Darrius Crump and quarterback Nick Grandolfo each scoring 2 touchdowns, as the Corsairs gained 5.6 yards per clip. Joe Hoy rushed for 125 yards and a TD on 18 carries for the Corsairs.

"We switched some things up and gave them some different looks," explained Crawford, who compiled 66 receiving yards, 73 return yards and tossed a completion for 30 yards. "We had some success, but unfortunately we didn't come through.

"They had some size and got a good push against us. We just couldn't deal with their size most of the time."

Carmel improved to 1-2, as the Corsairs opened the campaign against two teams that played in IHSA title games last fall. Meanwhile, Marian's early season success came to a thud after a 2-0 opening start.

Crawford provided the lone offensive bright spot for Marian, as he pulled in a 45-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Schmidt late in the second quarter.

Facing a 21-0 deficit at the time, Marian was hoping to build some momentum.

However, the Corsairs limited Marian to 49 rushing yards on 32 totes and the Spartans completed just 9 passes on 22 aerial attempts.

Carmel's quick early cushion and insurance scores were not cheap, as 43 yards represented the shortest scoring drive.

Marian's defense, ignited by linemen Drew Robinson, Apelete Houngbo, Bryan Hurt and Tim Mason, proved stingy to start the opening quarter. The Spartans held on fourth down in their first opportunity, then forced a punt and recovered a muffed punt.

Despite starting on the Carmel 33-yard line, Marian was called for a holding penalty and went backward on two snaps, eventually settling for punt.

That's when Carmel started making Marian pay.

The Corsairs scored on their next three possessions, as Crump scored on runs of 4 and 40 yards, then added another score when Grandolfo hit Christian Heinz with a 46-yard TD strike. After Marian finally dented the scoreboard, Carmel added a crippling score with 10 seconds remaining in the half on Grandolfo's 1-yard run.

Marian couldn't make any noise in the second half, advancing no farther than the Corsair 46-yard line.

Carmel added the exclamation point on the opening drive of the second half after Crump returned the second-half kickoff 55 yards. Seven plays later, Hoy burst into the end zone from 9 yards for a 35-7 Carmel command.

Gandolfo concluded the scoring with a 2-yard rushing touchdown on a quarterback draw.

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