Tim Simon kicks game-winner to propel Notre Dame past Marist

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With 45.6 seconds left, Notre Dame found itself trailing by one with the ball on its own 40-yard line after Marist took the lead on a 29-yard field goal by Brendan Cooke.

The Dons had to count on their offense, which had been shut out in their previous two losses. On this night, though, that offense seemed to have finally found an identity — at the very least getting into field-goal range seemed reasonable.

It was.

The Dons drove to the RedHawks 10-yard line, setting up a game-winning field goal by Tim Simon from 27 yards out for a thrilling 20-18 East Suburban Catholic win.

“All I thought about was sticking to the fundamentals,” said Simon, who was frozen three times in a row by the RedHawks, who used all three of their timeouts. “I’ve never hit a game winner before.”

The Dons (2-2, 1-1) broke a two-game losing streak. Marist (1-3, 0-2) has lost three in a row.

“It was a game of execution — and they executed a little more than we did,” Marist coach Pat Dunne said.

Dons quarterback Tyler Tsagalis didn’t figure in the scoring, but he was 17-for-27 for 257 yards, setting up a pair touchdown runs by Quentin Grays (21, carries 91 yards). Tsagalis’ favorite target was Matty Curley, who had seven catches for 139 yards.

“Coming off a slow start this was a big win,” Curley said. “The biggest difference was Monday through Thursday (at practice). We knew we weren’t a 1-2 team.”

RedHawks quarterback Brendan Skalitzky also had a big night, finishing 24-for-38 for 256 yards, using seven different receivers. Complementing the passing game was Micah Awodiran, who ran for 111 yards on 28 carries with two touchdowns.

Patrick O’Conner recorded a safety to put Marist up 2-0. Louie Depasquale and Marty Ryan also recorded sacks for the RedHawks, while Nicholas Gasbarro had an interception and a fumble recovery.

Mike Sabatino had two sacks for the Dons, and Marquez Smith recovered a fumble. Simon added a 25-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to give his team a 17-9 lead. He also caught two passes for 47 yards. Bill Byrne had four catches for 55 yards, including two for 29 yards on the final drive.

“This was the best game I’ve ever played in especially coming off two shutouts,” Curley said.

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