NEW LENOX – Heading into the last game of the year Friday, the message was simple from Providence Catholic coach Mark Coglianese to his team: Win for our seniors.
Wins have been hard to come by for the defending Class 7A champion Celtics. However, the message was received loud and clear.
Senior running back Mike Markasovic totaled 172 yards from scrimmage (115 rushing, 37 passing and 20 receiving), scored two rushing touchdowns and added a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to lead the Celtics to a 36-6 victory over nonconference foe Lake Forest Academy.
The Celtics (3-6) overcame three first-half turnovers and finished with 340 yards of offense while limiting LFA to 188 total yards.
Celtics junior running back Richie Warfield rushed 13 times for 57 yards and a touchdown, and sophomore quarterback Caden Kalinowski hit 8 of 11 passes for 99 yards and a score. On special teams, senior Zach Pych blocked a field goal and a point-after try.
“We definitely wanted to come out and get a win,” Coglianese said. “We wanted to win for our seniors and try and get everybody in. We didn’t come out as strong as we wanted, but our kids came out focused in the second half and extended our lead.”
After a three-and-out by LFA to start, Providence went to its bag of tricks as it executed a double pass (Jared Drake to Markasovic to Nate Griffin) for 37 yards. Five plays later, Warfield scored on a 5-yard run for a 7-0 lead.
“I’m happy for the senior class as they are able to go out on somewhat of a positive note,” Warfield said. “A lot of things did not go our way this season but sometimes that happens in life. We all learned how to face adversity.”
LFA (3-6) had a chance to score later in the second quarter, but Pych blocked a 39-yard field-goal attempt. Two plays later, Providence turned the ball over deep in Celtics’ territory.
Five plays later, Joseph scored on a 9-yard run, but Pych and senior linebacker Dan McDonald blocked the kick to leave it 7-6 with 45 seconds left in the half. Providence grabbed the momentum back as Markasovic took the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and a 14-6 halftime lead.
“I was patient at first and then just saw a huge hole and just ran my [butt] off,” Markasovic said. “Tonight, we just wanted to come out on top. I’m happy. I have a smile on my face. I love these guys and they mean the world to me.”
After the Celtics’ first drive of the second half came up empty, Markasovic took over. Replacing a banged-up Warfield, Markasovic finished a seven-play, 41-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 21-6 with 5:02 left in the third quarter.
After the Caxys’ next drive stalled to end the third quarter, Markasovic broke it wide open on the next play as his 84-yard touchdown run gave Providence a 28-6 lead.