Injuries hamper JFK

Eagles suffer setback to visiting Canadian team

Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple John F. Kennedy quarterback Christian Marantis, left, consoles teammate Alec Burzynski at the end of the game. JFK lost to Royal Imperial College of Canada Saturday in Warren.

WARREN — Injuries have plagued the John F. Kennedy Eagles this season.

Saturday, the visiting Royal Imperial College of Canada took advantage in its 27-22 victory over JFK.

However, Eagles coach Jeff Bayuk said turnovers, more than anything, are what hindered his team and their momentum on an afternoon at Mollenkopf Stadium where he saw two fumbles and one interception.

A late JFK fumble set up the winning scoring drive.

It took three plays as the Knights’ Rhys Rusby scored from 22 yards away with 2:10 left to give RICC a 27-22 lead.

Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple JFK’s Christian Marantis is flushed out of the pocket by RICC’s Chris Weber on Saturday in Warren.

JFK got the ball and made one last attempt for the win. Marantis led the Eagles on a eight-play, 66-yard drive that ended in an incomplete pass.

Early on, it seemed the Eagles would have little trouble with the Knights from Canada.

JFK (3-4) scored first as running back Jordan Edmondson caught a screen pass from Christian Marantis that went for 72 yards to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead.

“I thought our kids tried to execute as best they could,” Bayuk said. “When you have a young quarterback, he’s gonna look inconsistent. He made some really nice plays and had difficulty in others. I’m really proud of the way our kids have continued to fight especially the last three weeks. We have 43 guys on our team. Everyone is expected to be ready.”

After unsuccessful drives on both sides, JFK’s punt was blocked and returned for a 55-yard touchdown by Shamond Carlisle on a scoop-and-score to tie the game at 7.

“With the way the season has been going, and to have a win like, I would take this over winning by a few scores,” Royal Imperial coach Joe Hagins said. “We can still build for going forward. We fought until the end. This was a character win.”

After a bad interception throw by Marantis, RICC (1-5) was set up well. Four plays later, quarterback Lucas Martinez hit wide receiver Samuel Charway for a 15-yard touchdown catch. A 5-yard penalty on the extra point forced the Knights to miss the point. It led 13-7 with 2:59 left in the first quarter.

JFK would respond in the second quarter with an Isaac Hadley 4-yard touchdown run. JFK led 14-13 at halftime because of that score.

After two missed field goals by RICC in the third quarter, JFK extended its lead with a 77-yard touchdown throw from Marantis to Alec Burzynski with 10:36 left in the game. Marantis also ran in the 2-point conversion for a 22-13 lead.

With 3:19 left in the game, RICC scored on a 7-yard catch to cut the lead to 22-20.

“We’ve had tough loses for the last three weeks,” Bayuk said. “We’re young and we are trying to learn how to do things. It’s just the way things.”