As it turns out, the Marist Spartans are just fine.
EUGENE — As it turns out, the Marist Spartans are just fine.
One week after having their 34-game regular-season winning streak snapped by Sherwood, the third-ranked Spartans bounced back in a big way, scoring seven first-half touchdowns en route to a 47-0 drubbing of Ashland in Midwestern League football action.
Marist (2-1, 1-0 MWL) dominated every phase of the game on Friday, turning four Ashland turnovers into touchdowns and averaging nearly 10 yards per play while racking up 364 yards of total offense.
"I'm really happy. I would have to be in a bad mood to find something wrong," Marist head coach Frank Geske said. "You never know what's going to happen out of a game like last week's, so it was nice to see the kids come like that. They took it on themselves. They figured it out on their own.
"I loved the game we were playing in all three phases, and the things that weren't good last week — as far as the hitting and hustling — it was all over the field tonight. In every phase of the game it was all over the field."
Ashland quarterback Danial White completed 11 of 22 passes for 68 yards, and running back Jon Volz rushed for 41 yards on 13 carries. R.J. Atteberry caught five passes for 39 yards.
Marist senior Josh Harper embodied his coach's praise with a tremendous all-around performance. Harper scored four touchdowns in the first half, opening the scoring with a 28-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Kamerun Smith, then scoring off a blocked punt less than a minute later.
In the early stages of the second quarter, Harper recovered an Ashland fumble at the 41-yard line, then quickly cashed in with a seven-yard touchdown reception, and the senior wideout put an exclamation point on the first half when he reeled in a 35-yard hail mary from Smith with no time left on the clock, giving Marist a 47-0 halftime lead.
Smith completed 11 of 15 passes for 188 yards and four touchdowns, including the three to Harper and an 18-yard strike to Liam Henshaw in the second quarter. Jet Taylor and Travis Walcott added rushing touchdowns for the Spartans.
"Last week's in the past," Geske said. "We'll always have that Sherwood game in the back of our minds, as our motivating factor. That's always going to be there, no matter who we're playing. We know we've got to play it right to get another shot at those guys down the road."
Ashland hosts Churchill next week.