Marist knocks off St. Pius in Sweet 16 matchup
St. Pius X got the best of Marist in the regular season, but Marist got the last laugh.
The No. 7-ranked Marist War Eagles (10-2) defeated the No. 54-ranked St. Pius X Golden Lions (10-2) 24-8 in the Sweet 16 of Class AAAA state playoffs Nov. 16 at St. Pius. The game was a rematch of the Sept. 14 regular season game between the two rival schools, which St. Pius won 17-0.
St. Pius had a 2-0 lead in the first quarter after defensive tackle John McKimmy tackled Marist quarterback Connor Cigelske in the end zone. Marist took a 3-2 lead in the second quarter after a 32-yard field goal by Brendan Farrell.
Midway through the quarter, the War Eagles extended their lead to 10-2 after a 41-yard touchdown run by Cigelske. St. Pius responded with a 4-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in a 68-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Connor Egan to running back Jason Jones, cutting Marist’s lead to 10-8.
Before halftime, Marist put together an 11-play, 59-yard drive that ended with a 17-yard touchdown run by Kyle Hamilton, extending the lead to 17-8.
Cigelske got his second touchdown of the game on a 79-yard run in the third quarter, extending Marist’s lead to 24-8.
Marist out-rushed St. Pius 249 yards to 43 yards. Cigelske led the team in rushing with 155 yards and two touchdowns. Hamilton had 79 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Marist will face No. 2-ranked Mary Persons in Forsyth Nov. 23 in the third round (Elite Eight) of the Class AAAA playoffs. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
In Class AAA, No. 2-ranked Cedar Grove advanced to the third round after a 49-33 win over North Hall at Godfrey Stadium. The Saints had a 35-3 at halftime and extended the lead to 42-3 lead in the third quarter before the backup came in the game to close it out.
Cedar Grove (11-1) will travel to Savannah to face No. 5-ranked Benedictine (11-1) Nov. 23 in the third round of the playoffs.