PITTSBURG — St. Mary’s Colgan kicked off district play with a dominating 55-0 win over Yates Center Friday at Hutchinson Field.
The Panthers wasted little time before taking the lead, using short field position to score a pair of touchdowns inside the first five minutes of game action to take ahold of the momentum. SMC continued to smother the Wildcats in every aspect of the game, scoring four total touchdowns in the first 12 minutes to take a commanding lead on the way to the district-opening win.
“Coming into the game, we felt like we were the better team,” Colgan head coach Chuck Smith said. “We just needed to make sure we played a good first half off football and got out of here without any injuries. I appreciate the way Yates Center hung in their all game.”
SMC’s defense put its mark on the game early, with Dominic Piccini picking off Yates Center’s Mikey Bruner three plays into the contest for the game’s first turnover.
The Panther offense responded, as quarterback Billy Dickey kept the ball on his team’s first play from scrimmage and scrambled 26 yards for a touchdown to make the score 7-0.
“I was really happy for Dom Piccini,” Smith said. “It was a nice interception. It gave us the momentum to get things going.”
After forcing the Wildcats into a punt situation, the Panthers got excellent field position for their second drive in a row after Max Wilson returned the ball 50 yards down inside the Yates Center 21-yard line.
Colgan scored its second touchdown minutes later, when Dickey found daylight to the right on second-and-goal from the 4-yard line to make the score 14-0, with 7:39 to play in the opening quarter.
The first-quarter scoring didn’t stop there for SMC, as Wilson capped off the Panthers’ third possession with a score from 6 yards out. The touchdown gave Colgan a 21-0 advantage, with 4:33 to play in the first quarter.
Josh Hayes made it four straight possessions with a Colgan touchdown, when he took the handoff up the middle on third-and-2 and broke multiple tackles on the way to a 55-yard score to extend SMC’s lead to 28-0, still in the first quarter.
“I thought [the offense] did OK,” Smith said. “We know we are going to play some tough defenses, but we’ve played a tough schedule this season and it has really helped us tonight.”
It was soon 35-0, when a three-play drive at the start of the second quarter culminated in a 22-yard run for a touchdown by Jacob Dellasega — his first rushing touchdown on the season.
The Colgan score was set up by a 33-yard pass play from Dickey to Tyler Brynds on second-and-21.
With the lead well in hand, Coach Smith brought in the second-team offense, but the production didn’t fall off.
SMC quarterback Bryce Hutchins hooked up with Cal Marquardt on the ensuing drive for a 27-yard, pitch-and-catch touchdown to further extend the first-half lead to 42-0.
“I was glad for [the second-team offense],” Smith said. “They work hard in practice, and their jv season is over, so, I was glad they got in and put some points on the board.”
A 22-yard field goal from Brynds with 39 seconds to play in the half pushed the lead to 45-0, forcing a running clock in the second half.
Brynds added a 36-yard field midway through the third quarter to make the score 48-0.
“There are not too many kids who can say they’ve made two field goals in one game. That’s a special thing,” Smith said. “The last five years, we’ve won some ball games because of our kicking game. I am hoping Tyler can do that for us down the road.”
Max Morawetz found the endzone on a 55-yard touchdown run to give the Panthers a 55-0 lead near the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter in what was the game’s final score.
Kash Marietta was the Panthers' leading rushing, finishing the game with 97 yards on 11 carries.
Morawetz ran for 96 yards and a score on 10 carries, while Dickey was a perfect 4-for-4 through the air for 56 yards.
Colgan honored the seniors of fall activities prior to the start of the game. Drew Beck, Dominic Piccini, Billy Dickey, Tyler Brynds, Alex Brown, Garrett VanBecelaere, Josh Hayes, Ethan Ward, Connor Smith, Zach Hizey and Jacob Otter were all recognized as members of the SMC football Class of 2016.
-- Lucas Davis is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @LDsportswriter.