Scranton Prep wasted no time setting the tone for Saturday night's Lackawanna Football Conference game at Wallenpaupack Area.
Head coach Nick Donato called a screen and his Cavaliers executed it perfectly. Quarterback Nick Solfanelli dropped back and floated a pinpoint pass just over the heads of Paupack's defensive line.
Tailback Pat Marino hauled in the ball, turned upfield and headed for the sidelines. Sixty-one yards later, and just 18 seconds into the first quarter, Prep had a lead it would never relinquish.
Marino led the charge all night, gashing the Buckhorns' normally stout defense for 300 yards of total offense. The diminutive senior also score five touchdowns in leading Prep to a 48-0 shutout.
With this lopsided win, the Cavs improved their regular season record to 6-0. Prep is tied with Abington Heights atop the Division One standings.
Meanwhile, Paupack's recent struggles continue. After opening the year with back-to-back wins, the Bucks have now absorbed four straight losses.
"Prep is a very good, very well-coached team," Dr. Mark Watson said just moments before opening kick-off. "The key to this game from our standpoint is getting off to a fast start. If we let them get ahead early and we have to play catch-up, we could be in trouble."
Those pre-game comments proved to be eerily prophetic as Prep did indeed seize momentum and cruise to victory.
Paupack will try to break out of its funk Friday night with a divisional battle versus West Scranton. That contest is slated for a 7 p.m. kick-off at Memorial Stadium.
To their credit, the Buckhorns didn't blink after Prep's opening salvo.
Dr. Watson reached deep into his bag of tricks on his team's first offensive play. The veteran mentor called a halfback option pass, which Dom Basilicata disguised well
Page 2 of 3 - Basilicata took the pitch from quarterback John Steffen and sprinted right. Just as the Cavs closed in, though, he pulled up and fired a strike to Brad Bieski. The play covered 33 yards and gave Paupack possession in Prep territory.
Sadly for hometown fans, this would be the biggest play of the entire game for the Bucks. Prep's swarming defense would hold Paupack to just 105 total yards, while its offense would pile up more than 460.
Not surprisingly, Marino did the vast majority of the damage. Prep's lightning quick tailback jitterbugged his way to 205 yards rushing and four scores. He also caught three passes for 95 more yards and another TD.
Paupack held Marino in check until late in the second quarter when he broke loose on a pair of short touchdown runs. He would add two more TD scampers after intermission which pushed Prep's lead to 35 and activated the Mercy Rule.
The clock ran nonstop throughout the fourth quarter and the Cavaliers began wholesale substitutions.
Back-up Justin Weckel closed out the scoring via a 36-yard touchdown run late in the final stanza.
This game was originally scheduled for Friday night, but had to be postponed when a thunderstorm pounded the shores of The Big Lake.
"It's kind of a shame because we really had some energy," Dr. Watson said. "We had a good week of practice and the kids were ready to go..."
Jovaughn Marshall paced the Paupack offense, but managed just 35 yards on 11 carries against a stingy Prep defense.
Steffen was under fire all night and suffered six sacks. The Bucks junior quarterback completed only two passes, one each to Bieski and Ryan Worzel.
Senior running back Ricky Smith chipped in with 21 hard-earned rushing yards on six attempts.
Page 3 of 3 - Score by Quarters...
WA (2-4) 0 0 0 0 - 0
SP ( 6-0) 7 14 20 7 - 48