There would be not be an improbable comeback for the Lovett Lions this week. Marist made sure of that. The War Eagles jumped to a huge first-half lead to put the game away early, ultimately winning 49-0 on the road Friday at Martin E. Kilpatrick Stadium in a battle of ranked Greater Atlanta private school heavyweights.
The War Eagles (1-0), ranked No. 4 in AAAA, opened their season strong after reaching the semifinals last year, grabbing a 42-0 lead they’d take into halftime. They were led by sophomore quarterback Connor Cigelske who, in the first half, rushed 15 times for 125 yards and three touchdowns and went 7-of-7 passing for 179 yards and two more touchdowns, both to junior receiver Josh Moore.
Cigelske rested the entire second half.
“Our offensive coordinator and offensive line coach put together a phenomenal scheme and our lineman have really progressed,” Cigelske said. “I’ve developed a lot more and it’s just gotten a lot easier. ...It was extremely important (to start with a win). I felt like we came out and played like a phenomenal team, and all the hard work and preparation really paid off for us tonight.”
The Lions (1-1), ranked No. 5 in AAA, never stood a chance a week after mounting a comeback against GAC. In that game, they trailed 23-7 late in the fourth quarter before winning 30-29 in overtime. On Friday, they played to a running clock in the fourth quarter.
Marist opened the scoring with 7:15 left in the first quarter on a 1-yard Cigelske run, set up by a 27-yard reception from Moore on the previous play. After the touchdown, the War Eagles faked the extra point attempt and Cigelske ran into the end zone untouched for the easy two-point conversion.
It would be the first of six consecutive first-half scoring drives for Marist, and seven overall.
After a Lovett three-and-out on the next drive, the War Eagles used 11 plays to go 91 yards, culminating in a 12-yard touchdown run by Brett Zoeller to put Marist ahead 15-0 with 21 seconds left in the first.
The War Eagles blew the game open with four touchdowns in the second quarter: a 14-yard Cigelske run, a 58-yard reception from Moore, a 1-yard Cigelske run and a 13-yard Moore reception as the second half expired.
For good measure, Marist added one final score in the game’s first possession of the second half, chewing more than six minutes of game clock in 12 plays, moving the ball 69 yards and scoring on Andrew Mannelly’s 9-yard run.
Lovett’s first-half possessions ended in seven punts. In the second half, the Lions threw an interception, turned the ball over on downs twice and punted. The second turnover on downs came on the War Eagles 1, when the Marist defense came up with a goal line tackle.
Moore finished with 167 receiving yards on five catches, and Lincoln Parker rushed 11 times for 94 yards.
Marist produced 521 yards of offense to Lovett’s 272.
Marist 15 27 7 0 — 49
Lovett 0 0 0 0 — 0
M — Connor Cigelske 1 run (Cigelske run)
M — Brett Zoeller 12 run (Richard Bowen kick)
M — Cigelske 14 run (Kick failed)
M — Josh Moore 58 pass from Cigelske (Bowen kick)
M — Cigelske 1 run (Bowen kick)
M — Moore 13 pass from Cigelske (MacGinnitie kick)
M — Andrew Mannelly 9 run (MacGinnitie kick)
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