PITTSBURG — In their toughest game to date in the Class 1A playoffs, St. Mary’s-Colgan responded with an emphatic 34-7 win over Jackson Heights in their Sectional round matchup on Friday.
In a match laden with personal fouls, Colgan overwhelmed the Cobras throughout the game.
“I thought we played really well as a team tonight.” said Panther wideout Cal Marquardt. “Our defense stepped up and played great. They were bigger than us across the board, but we were the more hungry team.”
“Now it's time for us to put the work in over the week and get ready for Sub-State.” added Marquardt.
Significantly for the Panthers, star-quarterback Cade Simmons left the game late in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.
Before his injury, Simmons accounted for all five Colgan touchdowns, two through the air and three on the ground.
Jackson Heights(9-2) found success in their opening drive through their rushing attack, but Colgan(9-2) forced a fumble and recovered the ball at their 25-yard line.
Halfback Kash Marietta was the catalyst for Colgan on the ensuring drive, moving the chains on multiple outside runs.
On fourth-and-nine at Jackson Heights’ 33-yard line, quarterback Cade Simmons escaped a sack attempt and rolled to his left before finding junior Derek VanBecelaere in the back of the endzone. The Panthers converted the extra point to give them an early 7-0 lead.
Jackson Height’s Kolby Rethman responded well on the ensuing kickoff, returning the kick 42-yards before being stopped by Colgan’s Luke Orender.
The Panthers defense forced a turnover-on-downs, and Colgan continued to move the ball through the ground.
Simmons displayed his dual-threat versatility, barreling over Jackson Height defenders on his way to a 25-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.
Later in the quarter, With the defense scrambling to get a substitute on the field after Rethman was forced to go to the sideline because of minor bleeding, Simmons found a wide open Marquardt streaking down the field for a 32-yard touchdown.
The Colgan two-point conversion attempt was stuffed by the Cobras, holding the Panther lead to 20-0 midway in the second quarter.
For the second time of the half, an promising Cobra drive ended on a fumble that was recovered by Orender, this time at the Panther 12-yard line, with :12 ticks remaining in the half.
On the first play of the second half, Cobra Lane Thomas stripped the ball away from Cade Simmons to force their first turnover of the night.
Rethman plunged into the endzone from four-yards out to put Jackson Heights on the board, 20-7, with eight minutes left in the third quarter.
Conor Price sparked the Panthers on their next drive, breaking multiple tackles for a 21-yard run.
On a quarterback sneak near the goalline, Simmons trucked a Cobra defender and dived into the endzone for a touchdown.
Colgan converted the extra point to extend the lead to 27-7 with five minutes to go in the third quarter.
Rethman and Cooper Williams continued to find success on runs inside the tackles throughout the game, but the Panthers came up with key stops deep in their half of the field.
Simmons scored on another quarterback sneak early in the fourth quarter, pushing their lead to 34-7 after converting the extra point.