Marist has been known for its high-scoring offense the past few seasons, but Friday night the defense made a statement to the rest of the East Suburban Catholic with its performance against St. Viator.
After allowing the Lions to score the first points of the game late in the first quarter on a 26-yard field goal by Will Solimene, the Redhawks' defense went into shutdown mode enroute to a 35-10 victory with the only touchdown being scored after the game had already been decided.
"The defense played well tonight," said Marist coach Pat Dunne. "They've played well all year."
With the Marist defense locked in, the offense was able to reap the benefits of great field position, starting 7 of their 10 drives in St. Viator territory.
Redhawks quarterback Luke Oosterbaan was the key to the offense both on the ground and through the air.
The 5-foot-7 junior ran for 3 touchdowns and threw for 201 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.
"We like to mix (the play calling) up," Oosterbaan said. "50-50. Keep the other team honest. I'm known more for my passing, but I ran hard tonight."
Oosterbaan's top target on the night was senior Alex Puhar who caught 7 passes for 127 yards. John Caraher caught Oosterbaan's touchdown pass on a perfectly thrown ball over the head of the defender on first-and-10 from the 19-yard line.
The bad breaks keep coming for the Lions. They were again without quarterback Cameron Korab, who sustained a concussion on the team's last drive last week against Joliet Catholic. His replacement, Frank Laterza, led the team down field but couldn't find the end zone.
"We couldn't put any points on the board," said coach Chris Kirkpatrick. "You can't blame injuries. Everyone plays with injuries. I just told the guys to keep on pushing."
St. Viator (4-3, 2-3 ESC) needs to win one more game to be eligible for the playoffs, while the Redhawks (5-1, 3-1 ESC) travel to Joliet Catholic next week in the hunt for a conference championship.