Marist Saw More Than Enough of Nazareth's Running Game
The Roadrunners threw the ball only three times in their victory on Friday night, and that's exactly what they wanted to do.
Go to any high school orientation, and one of the main pieces of advice you're likely to hear is “Be Yourself.” Don’t give in to peer pressure; don’t force yourself to do anything you don’t want to do. Be you. Do what you do.
And that’s exactly what Nazareth did on Friday night against Marist. With running backs Rudy Romagnano and Josh Moore, the Roadrunners were going to run the ball more than 90 percent of the time.
That was no secret to Marist coach Pat Dunne. It was hardly a mystery to any spectator in the rain-soaked bleachers. The Roadrunners were going to run until Marist stopped them, consistently. They were going to run until they were forced to do something different.
They never had to.
Romagnano broke a 77-yard touchdown run on his second carry of the game and Nazareth went up 7-0. From there, Marist was always fighting to get back in the game, and the Redhawks never once held a lead. When the dust had settled, Nazareth had powered its way to a 33-20 victory.
“We need to just learn from this and get better,” Marist’s Ryan Meyer said. “We need to respond to what they’re doing to us. We just need to work harder.”
The RedHawks (3-2 overall, 3-1 East Suburban Catholic) tied the game at 7-all midway through the second quarter, but Nazareth (4-1, 4-1) responded immediately, and it was Romagnano who finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run to give the Roadrunners a 14-7 lead.
It was a lead they would never relinquish, and it was instrumental in allowing Nazareth to consistently run the ball. The Roadrunners never felt the pressure of trying to score quickly. They never had to do anything out of their comfort zone. Nazareth QB Sam Poulos threw the ball only three times Friday night, just once in the second half.
Dunne didn’t think his defense was bullied by Nazareth’s offensive line. In fact, he thought the defense’s physical play was one of the positives to come out of Friday night’s loss. On half of Romagnano’s carries, Marist’s defense stuffed the bruising tailback for three yards or less.
“Our defense, I thought, came to play physical and did a good job tonight in regards to shutting down certain things we were worried about,” Dunne said.
Yet it only took a handful of big plays from Romagnano to make the difference.
And those big plays came because of a true commitment to the run. They came within the normal flow of Nazareth’s offense.
They came the Roadrunner way.