The opening second-half drive for the Marmion football team resembled the golden opportunities surrendered in the first half.
But the Cadets were only shaking off the opening-game rust.
In a remarkable half of football, Marmion snapped the ball but twice in its own territory on offense.
The Cadets' defense forced four consecutive three-and-outs against the Wildcats in Plainfield Friday night and proceeded to score on three straight drives during the span to turn a one-score halftime lead into a 26-7 victory.
"Coach (Dan Thorpe) made some adjustments at halftime, and they paid off big," said Neal Abraham, whose 53-yard touchdown scamper gave Marmion an 18-0 lead in the third quarter.
After its second consecutive stop to open the second half, Sean Campbell set the offensive tone.
With the Mamion front line dominating both sides of the ball, Campbell had back-to-back runs of 15 and 24 yards to personally cap the three-play, 39-yard touchdown march.
Lucas Warren was a man among boys the entire game for Marmion.
The two-way starter was all over the field in quarterbacking the defense from his middle-linebacker position, and the fullback had consecutive double-digit runs to set up the Cadets' third touchdown of the fourth quarter.
The punishing junior burst off right guard from 3 yards out for the Cadets' final touchdown of the third quarter.
"That was a big part of the game," Warren said of the five straight three-and-outs forced on Plainfield Central after halftime. "It helped us control the ball and take care of the game."
"We had way too many three-and-outs," Plainfield Central coach John Jackson said.
Plainfield Central would have its only first downs after halftime on its lone scoring drive.
The Wildcats (0-1) needed to convert on fourth down from its own territory, and feature back Atwaki Atkins' plunge from 2 yards away cost Marmion (1-0) its bid for a shutout.
"The defense was outstanding," said Thorpe, who credited special teams coach Jim Bonebrack for masterminding the victory.
"We made them punt into the wind," Thorpe said of the string of three-and-outs that continuously put Plainfield Central in a hole.
Marmion opened the game in classic fashion, dominating the clock with a brilliantly orchestrated 13-play, 67-yard drive.
Abraham had the sixth first down of the drive with his sweep around left end from 2 yards out.
"The offensive line did a great job of opening holes," Abraham said.
There would be no more scoring the remainder of the half as the Cadets nursed a 6-0 lead into the halftime intermission.
But Johyn Tate was most responsible for making sure the Wildcats did not cross the goal line.
After getting beat on a long pass, Tate recovered to strip the Plainfield Central wide receiver of the ball on the 55-yard play.
Marmion recovered deep in its own territory.
The Cadets would return the favor with a lost fumble of their own, but the defense rose to deny Plainfield Central on fourth down at its own 15-yard line.
"It was the biggest play of the game," Thorpe said of the Tate recovery.