ALTON – One thing about Marquette Catholic's football team: You can't focus on one person to try to stop.
Try to stop D'Avion Peebles, Treven Swingler can get you. Try to stop Swingler,Brady McAfee can get you. Try to stop McAfee, Jeremy Strebel can get you.
The Explorers showed that in many ways Saturday night as they defeated Bunker Hill 52-12 in a Prairie State Conference game at Public School Stadium to take their record to 4-2 on the year, winning their fourth game in a row after an 0-2 start; they stand at 4-0 in the PSC. The Minutemen fell to 2-4 overall, 0-4 in the league.
“Every win's important,” said Explorer coach Darrell Angleton. “When you put up over 50 points, you're always happy about that. We've got to clean some things up, though. We had 10 penalties tonight; we came here with a particular game plan; we weren't going to put the ball up in the air, we were going to just run the ball, it's pretty hard to stop us.
The Explorers feel they have a good chance to qualify for the IHSA football playoffs; their goal is to win their final three games against Metro East Lutheran-Madison, Mount Olive and South Fork and obtain a good seed. “I think we're pretty good about getting past the six wins to qualify,” Angleton said. “The key is, at this point, we've got to run the table; we absolutely need to go in with seven wins and get a good draw, maybe a home game.
“It's exciting; our defensive front six continues to be dominate. The two touchdowns we gave up were passing touchdowns; it's something we continue to work on, to get better on. It's hard to run on us; we can definitely grind out points on the ground.”
“They're a very tough team,” said Minutemen coach Tom Haynes. “They play downhill, they have a lot of speed on the team and kind of took us by surprise almost, even though we knew that coming into the game. We dressed 18 kids to night and I'm really proud of these kids, playing with 18 kids, including some freshmen, for four quarters. I love the team for that.
“Despite the outcome, we've got some good things going on right now. I'm proud of the guys.”
McAfee, Peebles and Swingler each had two touchdowns for Marquette; McAfee scored on runs of 10 and 27 yards, Peebles on runs of 20 and 11 yards and Swingler on runs of 11 and 24 yards as the Explorers got out to a 14-0 lead at quarter time and 42-12 at halftime, the Minutemen scoring on a 65-yard pass play form Storm Corffman to Chase Williams and on a 30-yard pass play from Coffman to Austin Yates at the end of the second term. Jayce Maag had a 44-yard interception return for a touchdown and Liam Maher connected on a 44-yard field goal early in the final quarter to get the Explorers out to the final 52-12 margin, triggering the running-clock rule.
Peebles led the Explorers with 151 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns;Swingler had 14 carries for 107 yards and two touchdowns, McAfee eight carries for 86 yards and two TDs and Strebel six carries for 66 yards.
Next up for the Explorers is a trip to Madison to take on Metro East Lutheran-Madison at Sam Dymas Field at Madison High School; kickoff is set for 11 a.m Saturday. Marquette closes out with a game at Public School Stadium against Mount Olive Oct. 15 before traveling to Kincaid for a game against South Fork Oct 21.