One simple play could have clinched Pacelli its first playoff appearance since 2007. Clinging to a 13-12 over lead over Schley County early in the fourth quarter and the ball on its 5-yard line, Malik Marble took a simple handoff, but the result was anything but ordinary.
Marble ran for 95 yards, lifting the Vikings to a 28-12 victory Friday night at Dimel Field.
"Malik's run simply won the game for us," coach Randy Grace said. "The offensive line block perfectly, the receivers held theirs and Bailey McKee (who came in for an injured Like Dawahare) threw a huge block in there for Malik."
The win moves Pacelli's record to 7-2 and 4-2 inside the region. It was also the Vikings' first victory over Schley in five years.
"This region is so tough and I can't think of a way that we could drop any lower than 16 in the GHSA Power rankings even with a loss next week to Hawkinsville."
Pacelli jumped out in front in the first quarter after stopping Schley's fourth-and-one attempt on the opening possession of the game. Brian Foster had a nice 15-yard run on an option pitch from quarterback Wyatt Peterson to get around midfield. After an 11-yard Peterson completion to Dawahare, Marble broke free for his first huge run of the game scampering 33-yards for a touchdown.
The Wildcats wasted no time answering scoring on their next two possessions to go ahead 12-6. Tra Minter and Matt Corbin were all of the Wildcat offensive as Corbin had a 25-yard run on a jet sweep to put Schley into the red zone. Minter capped off the drive with a one-yard run for the score.
After forcing a three-and-out, Schley (2-7) drove 47 yards in under two minutes to go ahead. On the first play of the drive, Minter escaped pressure and throw as he was getting hit but found Corbin on a screen pass for a 27-yard gain.
Another screen pass put the Wildcats inside the five while Minter scored his second touchdown on a five-yard run.
On the following kickoff, Marble was at it again returning the kick 51-yards to the Wildcat 10. Just two players later, the Vikings took the lead after Peterson raced into the end zone on a naked bootleg and the point after as the first quarter buzzer sounded.
In the second quarter, the Vikings converted back into their regular defensive scheme and the results showed. In the last three quarters, Pacelli stopped the Wildcats on six fourth down attempts. In the second half, Schley only had 79 yards of offensive including -14 yards in the fourth.
Marble was by far the star of the game. He ended the night with 190 rushing yards on 10 attempts.
Pacelli will now play host to Hawkinsville next week. Hawkinsville knocked off previous unbeaten Marion County 14-10 on Friday.
Friday at Diemel FieldSchley County 12 0 0 0--12
Pacelli 13 0 0 15--28
P: Malik Marble 33-yard run (run failed); 5:42
S: Tra Minter 1-yard run (run failed); 3:19
S: Minter 5-yard run (run failed); 0:48
P: Wyatt Peterson 6-yard run (Kevin Jacobs Kick Good); 0:00
P: Marble 95-yard run (run good); 9:59
P: Peterson 7-yard return (Jacobs Kick); 5:26
Records: Schley County: 2-6, 2-4 Region 4A; Pacelli 7-2, 3-2. Next: Pacelli, home vs, Hawkinsville Friday, 7:30 p.m.