Coaches often use a game before the big game as a tune-up of sorts for their team, hoping to work out the kinks and clean up some problem areas.
Immaculate Heart Central football coach Paul Alteri couldnt have asked for a better warm-up Saturday as his Cavaliers prepare for their annual battle with unbeaten General Brown next Friday.
A day after the game was postponed due to a lack of officials, IHC pounded visiting LaFayette 39-7 in a Section 3 Class C interconference game to run its record to 2-1. And with a key Class C North date in Dexter looming, the Cavaliers gained an important dose of confidence physically and mentally.
Its always nice to get a little momentum going into a big game, and I thought we did that in all phases today, Alteri said. There were a lot of positives and very few negatives on both sides of the ball, and thats important as you prepare for what we know will be a difficult test.
Michael Marra, Spencer Sharlow and Haden Baker each scored a pair of touchdowns as IHC built an early 13-0 lead, led 19-7 at halftime then put the game away with a pair of third-quarter scores.
Marra, who gained 104 yards rushing on just nine carries, said executing well Saturday was an important prep for General Brown.
You know they are going to bring their A game, and we must do the same, said Marra, who contributed scoring runs of 42 yards in the first quarter and 9 yards in the third quarter. Since the APW game weve been working a lot harder to cut down on the mistakes that cost us that game.
Alteri said that season-opening 28-14 loss to the Rebels was a needed wake-up call for his club.
I still believe we should have won that game, but we were very sloppy and tackled very poorly, Alteri said. Our goal as coaches is for us to get better every week, and weve done that in all aspects of the game.
Marra broke off a long TD run on IHCs fourth play of the game to set the tone for the Cavaliers domination.
IHC racked up 179 yards rushing, and Marra said the holes were pretty big all day. But I know the yards will get a lot tougher next week.
Matt Moran hit Baker on a short 3-yard TD pass for IHCs second score, and Sharlow tacked on a 1-yard TD run in the second quarter.
David Poole of LaFayette put the Lancers (0-3) on the board with a 4-yard run late in the second quarter. But the aggressive IHC defense limited Poole to just 37 yards on 17 carries.
We knew he would be tough, but our kids gang-tackled really well today, Alteri said.
Marras 9-yard TD run made it 26-7 in the third quarter. Baker added to the rout by returning an interception 60 yards for a score later in the quarter.
Sharlow finished off the scoring with a 10-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Alteri still bemoaned some careless mistakes, such as 10 penalties for 75 yards. You do that against General Brown, and theyll make you pay, he said. We still consider them the best team in our league, so its going to be a great challenge. But our kids wont need any extra motivation in practice this week.