Late touchdown lifts Marauders past Wolfpack | Football

Sophomore quarterback, junior wide receiver connect on winning score
By David Pan | Oct 03, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Mariner’s Roman Savchuk is lifted up into the air by teammate Raytrell McCartha after scoring a touchdown during the Marauders’ 25-20 victory over Jackson Friday, Sept. 28, at Goddard Stadium.

With the game hanging in the balance, Mariner turned to its top receiver.

Junior Roman Savchuk pulled down a 37-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Jackson Cole with 49 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give the Marauders a come-from-behind 25-20 victory over Jackson in a Wesco 4A football game Friday, Sept. 28, at Goddard Stadium.

The play was designed for Savchuk, who caught his first touchdown of the season in the second quarter.

“It was throw it up and hope that I make the play,” Savchuk said.

Mariner coach Mark Stewart said the offense has a saying that “when in doubt, throw it to Roman and so we did. … That last play was what we do. You drop the ball in the bucket and he (Cole) did and Roman’s got to go up and catch the ball. That’s basically what happened there. That was pretty textbook. That’s something we’ve worked on, that we feel like we should be able to go out and do.”

Cole, who started two weeks ago, wasn’t expected to play quarterback but was called on when it was determined on Thursday that junior Denis Biryuk would not be able to go.

“It was amazing,” Cole said of the final touchdown pass. “It was a great route by Roman. My line did a great job blocking for me and we got the ball off. He went up took it down. He brought it into the end zone. It was a good night.”

Cole completed 10 of 17 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns. Savchuk caught four passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Josiah Pesterkoff carried the ball 13 times for 97 yards and scored two touchdowns.

Cole was nursing a sprained thumb coming into Friday’s game.

“I was a little worried,” he said. “But my guys saved me. There were some big plays by Roman Savchuk and my line did a great job tonight. … Our defense held strong and that really kept us going.”

The victory moved Mariner (2-1 in the league, 2-3 overall) into a tie for third place with Mount Vernon (2-1, 4-1).

“It’s really big because it gives us a chance to make the playoffs,” Savchuk said.

Pesterkoff scored on a 6-yard run to give Mariner a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Jackson senior quarterback Ben Olesen responded with a 17-yard TD pass to wide receiver Isaac Grayson and the teams were tied at 7.

A Jackson interception deep in Mariner territory set up a 22-yard field goal by Daniel Yoon. Stewart praised his defense for only allowing the field goal.

“That was a great goal line stand by our defense,” he said. “Our defense did a great job of slowing them down. … For us to be able to hold them to 20 was a big deal for our defense.”

Mariner took a 13-10 lead into halftime on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Cole to Savchuk.

“Finally scoring a touchdown this year felt great,” Savchuk said.

A 38-yard field goal by Yoon and a 5-yard TD run by Cedric Wyckoff gave the Timberwolves (1-2, 3-2) a 20-13 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Pesterkoff scored on a 3-yard run to cut the deficit to 20-19, but the Marauders did not make the extra point.

Mariner had to convert on two fourth down attempts during the winning drive and given that they had missed two extra point attempts, the Marauders weren’t counting on a field goal to secure the victory.

“Our mindset was just to score a TD and win the game,” Savchuk said.

“We were getting a little low on time. We were getting a little urgent,” Cole said. “We just knew we had to come through in the clutch. We had to finish it.”

Jackson made the final minute uncomfortable for Mariner by driving down the field. Olesen’s final pass of the night was caught out of bounds past the end zone on the last play of the game.

The tie for third place in the league will be broken this week as Mariner takes on Mount Vernon at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 5, at Mount Vernon High School.

Coming off a 42-10 loss to Monroe, the win over Jackson provided a much-needed boost for the Marauders.

“This is a big one for us and gets us back on the right track,” Stewart said. “It’s a good win for us. It’s something you can build on”

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