INDIANAPOLIS – The Marian football team left no doubt in a season-opening 52-7 thrashing of No. 6 St. Xavier Saturday night at St. Vincent Field in Indianapolis. After an hour long lightning delay to begin the night, the 15th-ranked Knights controlled the game from the get-go to move to 1-0 on the season.
It took Marian only 20 seconds to light up the scoreboard as Charles Salary scampered 75 yards to the end zone for six quick points. Salary broke through a hole and was able to get to the sideline before turning on the jets and leaving the SXU defense behind. The run also moved him into fifth on the all-time Marian rushing list ahead of former teammate Jakhari Gore.
After two defensive stops, Marian’s offense capped a 12 play, 69 yard drive with a 38 yard field goal from Matt Plesac to make it 10-0. Two minutes later Johnny William made the first of two big touchdown catches in the half, going 63 yards on the first play from scrimmage to make it 17-0.
Marian posted three more scores in the second quarter to blow the game wide open. Wesley Cook punched one in from eight yards out to finish an eight play, 80 yard drive and Luke Johnston found William for another 63 yard score with 4:39 to play in the half. On Marian’s final drive of the half, Johnston found Mykelti Armstrong for a 14 yard touchdown. Armstrong reached up with one hand and made a sensational grab to put the Knights up 38-0 going into halftime.
Johnston put up huge numbers in the half, finishing 12-for-15 with 248 yards and three touchdowns. William made six catches for 158 yards and two scores, while Salary rushed eight times for 99 yards. Chad Scaggs recorded two sacks in the half and Nickai Poyser made a team-high six tackles.
St. Xavier finally broke through against the Knights’ defense to start the third quarter with a 12 play, 63 yard drive that ended with a three yard rushing touchdown. The drive took 6:26 off the clock and would be the only score of the third quarter. Tristen Tonte opened the scoring in the fourth quarter with a four yard rush to take Marian over 40 points. It marked the seventh time in the series that a team eclipsed the 40 point mark and the Knights have done it the last two times.
Marian went back to the ground game later in the fourth and Ben Girton broke multiple tackles on his way to a 35 yard touchdown. It was the third drive that lasted only one play for Marian and it gave the Knights 50-plus points against St. Xavier for the second-straight game at St. Vincent Field.
Johnston finished 15-for-20 with 297 yards and three touchdowns, while William just missed 200 yards receiving with 198 yards on eight catches and two touchdowns. Salary and Cook both surpassed 100 yards rushing with 120 and 106, respectively. Six different Knights recorded five or more tackles and Poyser’s eight led the way. Scaggs finished with three sacks.
Marian racked up 571 yards of offense compared to the Cougars’ 303. The Knights averaged 9.8 yards per play and passed for 297, while rushing for 274. Marian’s defense held St. X to 6-of-18 on third down attempts and had nine tackles for loss.
The Knights will have a bye week over Labor Day weekend before traveling to Robert Morris Sept. 8.
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