The Marist War Eagles didn’t get off to the best start this season. But the end result couldn’t have worked out any better, as they can call themselves Region 6-AAAA champions for the second year in a row, beating the Carver-Atlanta Panthers, 34-14, in front of the home crowd.
The War Eagles (8-2, 6-0 in 6-AAAA) claim the No. 1 seed and will host the No. 4 seed from Region 8, while the No. 2-seeded Panthers (7-3, 5-1) host Region 8’s No. 3 seed.
Marist used its run game to chip away at the Panthers defense, with five rushers combining for 288 yards. Quarterback Chase Martenson had 18 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown, and Griffin King finished with 55 yards on 15 rushes and added two scores.
King’s first-quarter score, followed by Martenson’s second quarter score – both 1-yard runs – put Marist ahead 14-0. Carver-Atlanta responded with Charlie Patrick’s 1-yard run with 46.8 seconds left in the half, but Marist’s Joey Gogol responded with a 49-yard field goal as time expired, sending the War Eagles into the locker room with a 17-7 lead.
Nothing seemed to go right for the Panthers. They were limited in the passing game, having completed just 6 of 14 passes for 56 yards through three quarters, when the game was out of hand. A Panthers interception on their opening possession of the second half led to another Gogol field goal and a 20-7 Marist lead.
Penalties stalled three promising drives that had the Panthers either in or near the red zone. And the Panthers’ kicking game led to good field position for Marist. Carver-Atlanta’s punts averaged just 13 yards, and the kickoff following the Panthers’ first touchdown only went 24 yards, making Gogel’s long field goal possible.
With the game out of reach, Martenson and King each rushed for short touchdowns of 2 and 5 yards, respectively, in the fourth quarter.
For Marist, it’s the 22 region championship in program history. After overcoming a 1-2 start, the War Eagles are in the state playoffs for the 31st consecutive season, with 29 under the watch of head coach Alan Chadwick.
The Panthers will enter the playoffs for the second year in a row, but this year with heavy hearts. During the kickoff following Martenson’s score in the fourth quarter, junior receiver Akinwale Brown suffered what coaches said was a neck injury. Brown didn’t move and the game was delayed nearly 30 minutes because no ambulance was on sight. DeKalb Police called for the ambulance, an officer said.
Carver-Atlanta 0 7 0 7 – 14
Marist 7 10 3 14 – 34
M – Griffin King 1 run (Joey Gogol kick)
M – Chase Martenson 1 run (Gogol kick)
C – Charlie Patrick 1 run (Kentrell Barber kick)
M – Gogol 49 FG
M – Gogol 19 FG
M – Martenson 2 run (Gogol kick)
C – Joseph Mosley 10 pass from Jordan Holden (Barber kick)
M – King 5 run (Gogol kick)