The Mariner Tritons rolled to a 38-20 win over Bishop Verot Friday night in the season opening game for both teams.
Big first-half plays by the defense keyed the Tritons' victory at Tony McKenna Field.
Corey Murphy's juggling interception and 20-yard return gave the Tritons an early 7-0 lead, and Jaylen Mitchell picked off a deflected Quinn Farrell pass to set up Eric Russaw's 13-yard scoring run just before halftime.
Mariner High defensive coordinator James Iandoli encourages his unit during a water break in the Tritons’ 38-20 victory Friday night over Bishop Verot.
"The defense had a great game in the first half," Tritons coach Chris Siner said. "They allowed some big pass plays in the second half. We knew they wanted to throw the ball. (The defense) made some plays when we needed them to."
Vikings coach Phil Dorn agreed that the early turnovers were a key to the game.
"Too many mistakes in the first half," Dorn said. "We put ourselves in a hole. We had to play from behind and that's not something we wanted to do."
Mariner intercepted three Vikings passes in all.
The Tritons had one sustained drive in the first half, capped by Joey Lantz's 14-yard quarterback keeper. Lantz hit Mitchell for a 13-yard TD pass in the third period and ran 25 yards for a score in the fourth. Justin Kuechle kicked a 28-yard field goal for the Tritons.
"We ran the ball enough to get our passing game going," Siner said.
Leslie Green scored on a three-yard run on the first play of the second quarter for Verot, but Vince Barraco missed the extra point.
Farrell had a pair of touchdown passes in the second half, 23 yards to D.J. Oceant-Kelly and 10 yards to Luke Labreche. Labreche also caught a two-point conversion pass for the Vikings.
Oceant-Kelly's score brought Verot within 28-14 in the final minute of the third quarter. The Vikings successfully tried an onsides kick, but went backward and wound up punting.
Labreche's TD catch came in the game's final minute.
Bishop Verot 0 6 8 6 - 20
Mariner 7 14 7 10 - 38
M - Corey Murphy 20 interception return (Dustin Kuechle kick).
BV - Leslie Green 3 run (Vince Barraco kick failed).
M - Joey Lantz 14 run (Kuechle kick).
M - Eric Russaw 23 run (Kuechle kick).
M - Jaylen Mitchell 13 pass from Lantz (Kuechle kick)
BV - DJ Oceant-Kelly 23 pass from Quinn Farrell (Luke Labreche pass from Farrell)
M - FG, Kuechle 28
M - Lantz 25 run (Kuechle kick)
BV - Labreche 10 pass from Farrell (pass failed).