Marist held off hard-charging Lovett 24-16 Friday in the first meeting between the schools and kept a unique streak alive for head coach Alan Chadwick.
Since Chadwick began coaching there in 1985, his teams had never lost consecutive regular-season games. That streak was in jeopardy as Lovett (2-1, No. 5 in AA) led 16-7 in the second quarter behind 179 first-half passing yards and two touchdowns from sophomore quarterback Willie Candler. The War Eagles (2-1, No. 2 in AAAA) struck twice early in the third quarter and held Lovett out of the end zone late in the second half to preserve the win.
“It was in doubt there for a while,” Chadwick said. “It looked pretty shaky.”
Down 21-16 with less than nine minutes to play, Lovett drove to the Marist 1 behind Candler’s arm. The War Eagles forced fourth down and Brendan McGowan missed a 30-yard field goal after his 20-yard make was negated by penalty. Marist took over at the 20 and went 74 yards before Fletcher Malloy kicked a 23-yard field goal with two minutes left.
Candler (18-of-25 passing, 282 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions) took the ball and drove the Lions inside Marist territory before he was intercepted by with eight seconds left.
“We played harder in the second half than in the first half,” Chadwick said. “The coaching staff will need to go back and figure out why that is.”
Early in the third quarter, Marist quarterback Myles Willis (30 rushes, 139 yards; 4-of-5 passing, 133 yards) found Gray King across the middle of the field for a 72-yard touchdown to bring Marist within 16-14. Marist took the lead later in the quarter behind a 45-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard run from King.
“That really hurt us,” Lovett coach Mike Muschamp said. “I think we had all the momentum early. They hit the big play and the momentum flipped. Even though we were still ahead, I don’t think we handled that well.”
On Lovett’s first offensive play, junior Grant Haley took in a short pass from Candler and raced 86 yards for a score to put the Lions ahead. Haley cut from left to right across the field and outran Devin Kalil to the right corner of the end zone. Haley finished with 110 yards receiving.
Marist 0 – 7 – 14 – 3 – 24
Lovett 7 – 9 – 0 – 0 – 16
L – Willie Candler 86 pass to Grant Haley (Brendan McGowan kick)
M – Myles Willis 8 run (Fletcher Malloy kick)
L – Safety
L – Candler 51 pass to Craig Rollins (McGowan kick)
M – Willis 72 pass to Gray King (Malloy kick)
M – King 1 run (Malloy kick)
M – Malloy 23 FG