JU holds off Marist
J.J. Laster scored three touchdowns against Marist.
J.J. Laster scored three touchdowns against Marist.
Senior running back J.J. Laster scored three times, including a key 4-yard run with 11:07 to play, to lead Jacksonville University past stubborn Marist, 21-9, in a Pioneer Football League game at Tenney Field here Saturday.

Laster, from Graceville, Fla., capped a 15 play, 89-yard drive early in the fourth quarter to give the Dolphins (3-2, 2-0) breathing room. They closed out the game, and picked up their 13th consecutive PFL win going back to 2009, on an interception by defensive back Schon Thomas with 3:21 to play.

Senior Keith Dawson led JU with 69 yards rushing on 11 carries while Laster had 44. Quarterback Josh McGregor was 11 of 19 for 112 yards and was sacked twice. Wide receiver Larry Thompson caught three passes for 40 yards and extended his streak of consecutive games with a catch to 25.

JU’s Leonard Smith led the team with 10 tackles and Marist committed five turnovers in the loss.

“Our defense played extremely well and our special teams made some good plays,’’ coach Kerwin Bell said. “We didn’t perform well on offense and that’s my fault. I game planned on what they did last year when they dropped eight back and that was my fault.’’

Marist (1-4, 0-2) had pulled to within 14-9 with 7:54 to play in the third quarter on an unusual play when JU’s Andy Sainvil intercepted a pass from Marist quarterback Tommy Reilly near the JU goal line and wound up in the end zone. After a long conference, officials ruled a safety against the Dolphins. It was the first safety recorded by Marist in 11 years.

JU took a 14-7 halftime lead as running back J.J. Laster scored a pair of touchdowns one on a 1-yard run and the second on a 10 yard effort.

In an unusual first half, Marist held JU quarterback Josh McGregor, who had five touchdown passes last week, to just 29 passing yards in the half. The Red Foxes had 79 total yards despite having an 80-yard scoring drive in which running back Ryan Dinnebiel scored from the 1.

The Dolphins play host to Dayton next week at 1 p.m. in a game pitting the PFL co-champs from last season.