CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Marian Catholic's Patrick Schmidt and the Spartans now know they can handle a little bit of adversity.
Schmidt threw an interception on his first pass, which led to a 22-yard field goal for Shepard, but the Spartans then ran off 49 unanswered points on the way to a 49-3 win over the Astros on Friday night.
Schmidt was 6-of-11 passing for 110 yards and three touchdowns.
"Over the top was open all day," Schmidt said. "We had all day, and that's all we need to do."
The Spartans (2-0) were able to exploit the middle of the Shepard secondary, and the passing game was effective throughout. Running back Ki-Jana Crawford caught two first-half Schmidt passes for touchdowns and also had an interception return of 32 yards for a score. The Spartans took a 28-3 lead into the half before coming out in the third quarter and quickly tacking on 21 more points.
"There was some adversity early," Marian Catholic coach Jerry Verde said. "We were a little bit on the ropes, and the seniors stepped up. Even though Pat's a senior, it's really only his second start. And it was the first game where he had to overcome some adversity."
Dillon Burns had a 55-yard touchdown run for the Spartans and also threw a pass to wide receiver Emilio Garza for a 88-yard score.
The Spartans had a nice balance of both the run and the pass throughout the game, and were able to keep the Astros guessing. The Spartans' defense was also dominant throughout, holding Shepard to 82 yard of total offense.
"Our defensive line played a great game," Crawford said. "Our passing game worked a lot. We knew that they were sagged back some, but we knew that we could get over the top of them."
Schmidt credits the Spartans' 2-0 start to the new coach's summer conditioning.
"It's the conditioning you know," Schmidt said. "(Verde) had us ever since day one in the summer, conditioning every day. And that's what helps us put the numbers on the board, and that's what helps us on every play."