ALTON – Marquette Catholic got out of the gates quickly in their Saturday nightPrairie State Conference home finale against Mount Olive and went on to clinch an IHSA football playoff spot in a 45-6 win over the Wildcats at Public School Stadium.
The Explorers won their sixth game in a row and took their record to 6-2 overall, 6-0 in the PSC heading into their regular-season finale at Kincaid South Fork Oct. 21; the Ponies defeated Bunker Hill 53-6 Friday night to remain a game behind the Explorers in the league. The win also clinched a tie for the PSC title for Marquette.
Under IHSA rules, teams that have won at least six games are assured of a berth in the IHSA football playoffs; the first-round pairings will be announced beginning at 8 p.m. Oct. 22 in a live stream at IHSA.tv via Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
“We came out physical and didn't make very many mistakes,” said Explorer coach Darrell Angelton. “We had a dominating performance and we're peaking at the right time.”
James Malone got the Explorers' second touchdown on a blocked punt and a 12-yard scoop-and-score in the opening term; Jeremy Strebel scored twice on the evening, including a 59-yard pick-six for Marquette's third touchdown on the evening.
Trevon Swingler had 72 yards rushing for Marquette, while D'Avion Peebles ran for 51 yards and Brady McAfee ran for 46 yards while going 3-for-4 passing for 42 yards. Liam Maher had a 43-yard field goal right before halftime for Marquette.
Saturday's game was Senior Night for the Explorers.