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JM Relentless Through Air

September 29, 2007
Weir coach Eric Meek had to tell his team the truth Friday night’s game: The better team won, he said.

He admitted he wasn’t sure John Marshall (4-2) was 28 points better, but the scoreboard said as much.

Shane Lantz completed 15 of 19 passes for 261 yards and five touchdowns, and the Monarchs held the Red Riders (2-4) to 3 yards and no first downs in the first half in a 41-13 victory at Monarch Stadium in Moundsville.

Weir played the hosts to a scoreless deadlock in the first quarter before the floodgates opened and John Marshall ended the first half with a 28-0 lead and a 269-yard advantage.

‘‘I thought we played hard, but they’ve got some pretty good kids in their secondary and at the receiver position,’’ Meek said. ‘‘Their quarterback had another good game, but they just spread you out so much and it’s tough.

‘‘We’re young, but our kids didn’t quit.’’

As impressive as Lantz’s numbers were, they might have done just as much for the Monarchs’ ground game. Running mostly out of a two-back, shotgun set, things opened up for John Marshall’s Marshall White.

White had 38 yards in the first half, then broke a 62-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter to finish the night with an even 100 yards on eight carries.

‘‘We were bigger than them, had a little more skill and just made plays,’’ John Marshall coach Mark Hinerman said. ‘‘The first three times we had the ball I wasn’t too pleased with the offense, but then we settled down.

‘‘We started making some big plays.’’

He’s talking, for the most part, about Lantz and the passing game.

In the second quarter, the senior completed a 16-yard scoring pass to Jacob Carnahan and a 52-yarder to White, before connecting with Mark Sampson twice (14, 27 yards) in a span of less than 2 minutes before the half.

That pretty much did it for a Red Riders team that came in with the idea of running the football between the tackles, not throwing it all over the field. While they were held to negative-3 yards on the ground on 13 carries in the first half, they did find a bit of consistency against John Marshall’s backups.

Quarterback Cory Enrietti, who actually finished with minus-14 yards on six carries, broke the ice for Weir with a 1-yard TD run with 4:46 to go in the third quarter. The Red Riders didn’t convert a first down until the 11:43 mark of the quarter.

After Lantz hit Logan Jarrett for a 25-yard scoring pass on third-and-25, Eric Smith responded for the Red Riders with a 12-yard run to close the scoring.

John Marshall’s two second-half scoring drives lasted a combined seven plays.

‘‘We had some kids out with injuries, but that didn’t have anything to do with the outcome,’’ Meek said. ‘‘There were some situations there where we had some chances but just didn’t get it done.

‘‘We hold them there on some third downs and maybe they have 27 instead of 41. We’ve got an off week next week and we’re going to try and get healed up and ready for Brooke.’’

John Marshall, which also has its bye week next week, has a handful of big games remaining — including 3 of 4 on the road. The Monarchs head to University, Morgantown and Wheeling Park in succession, before returning home for the season finale against Parkersburg South.

Three victories in four should guarantee the Monarchs a postseason berth, but it won’t be easy.

‘‘We’ve got murderer’s row coming up,’’ Hinerman acknowledged. ‘‘Everyone we’ve got coming up, we can beat. But they are capable of beating us, too.

‘‘University (was) undefeated — they play Brooke next week — and Morgantown and Park are both very good. We’ve got our work cut out for us.’’

Of John Marshall’s 397 yards, Carnahan finished with 87 receiving yards and the touchdown on four catches. White had 162 yards of total offense.

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