Jim Thorpe's defense, Catasauqua's Marshall stand out in Friday's rain, slop

Paryss Marshall was supposed to be a decoy on the opposite side of the field.

Zack Bradley was expected to roll to his left and throw left to another receiver.

Instead, the duo connected for a 59-yard touchdown pass that sealed Catasauqua's win over Pen Argyl last Friday night in a rematch of last season's District 11 Class 2A championship game.

"Normally, I just hitch it back, but I took it deep and [Bradley] saw me," Marshall said.

The scoring pass was in the air long enough to make Marshall a little nervous as two Green Knights defenders were closing in.

"At first, I didn't know if I was going to catch it," he said. "I was like, 'Don't drop it, don't drop it.'

"Then, I thought I was going to get tackled, but lucky for me, I got in the end zone."

That whole play was a microcosm of Marshall's 30 hours or so leading up to the game.

You see, the senior doesn't care for rain. Football teams don't normally pass a lot in the rain and slop. But Catasauqua isn't a typical team.

During last Thursday's rainy practice, Marshall talked to coach Tom Falzone, a former record-setting receiver with the Rough Riders, about his potential situation involving the weather.

"I told [Falzone] I might have to play without my gloves," Marshall said. "He said to do what you have to do to catch the ball."

Heavy downpours hit Northampton County late in the school day Friday. Catasauqua linemen were celebrating. Marshall was sulking a bit.

"I was like, 'C'mon, Paryss. It's football,' " Catasauqua running back Ra'Von Burton said. "You've got to play in the rain."

Marshall sucked it up and, sans the gloves, caught all seven balls thrown his way for 131 yards and three touchdowns to help Catasauqua win its 18th consecutive regular-season game.

The senior now needs eight catches and 30 yards to become the school's all-time leader in those career categories. He already has the school's career receiving TD record at 26 and counting.

Getting defensive

Ryan Saunders has made a smooth transition from wide receiver to quarterback and Deonte St. Hill is a playmaker, but the story of Jim Thorpe's season was on display Friday night.

The Olympians, a bad defensive team the last two seasons, completely shut down previously unbeaten Mahanoy Area and Dylan Mahmod, District 11's leading rusher.

Jim Thorpe won 26-0, holding Mahmod, who had run for at least 232 yards in three of the first six games this season, to just 34 yards.

It was the second consecutive shutout for coach Mark Rosenberger's club, one that allowed an average of 42.9 points in back-to-back 1-9 seasons in 2011-12.





Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
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