AURORA – It’s getting to the point in Aurora Christian’s season where its strong play is getting hard to ignore.
Despite losing Kane County Chronicle Player of the Year Anthony Maddie to graduation and most recently playmaking receiver Chad Beebe to injury, the Eagles are taking on a similar hue as last year’s Class 3A championship squad.
After a listless first half, Aurora Christian stepped on the gas in the second half to claim a relatively easy 38-14 win over Marmion.
“My money is on Aurora Christian for the 3A state championship because of their physicality they play with both offensively and defensively,” Marmion coach Dan Thorpe said. “[Ryan] McQuade was unconscious tonight. They stepped it up tonight defensively. I think they are better than they were last year because of their defense.”
The Eagles’ (6-0, 4-0 Suburban Christian Conference Blue Division) spread offense that had been so fruitful in the seasons’ first five weeks sputtered in the opening half as Marmion took a 7-6 halftime lead.
A pair of Ryan McQuade interceptions in Marmion (1-5, 1-3) territory stalled two Eagles’ drives in the half. The Cadets’ capitalized immediately on the second take-away as quarterback Charlie Faunce sprinted for a 78-yard touchdown run with 6:21 to go to gave Marmion a 7-0 lead.
The Eagles entered the locker room trailing, 7-6, but that changed quickly in the second half.
After forcing a quick three-and-out, the Eagles needed only four plays to take the lead as McQuade found Cory Windle for a 35-yard touchdown strike. The ensuing two-point conversion run from Joel Bouagnon put Aurora Christian up 14-7.
“They just stepped up defensively and came out with pride like a state championship team should,” Thorpe said. “We had them confused and had some wrinkles for them.”
A Trevor Hills 34-yard field goal put the Eagles up 17-7 before Bouagnon found the end zone from two yards out that made it 24-7.
Another Marmion three-and-out gave Aurora Christian the ball back at midfield. McQuade hooked up with Windle again, this time on a nine-yard strike that put the Eagles up 31-7.
When the dust settled, Aurora Christian had scored 25 third quarter points that effectively ended any Marmion hopes of a playoff berth.
“We put our defense in a short field and they stepped up the intensity in the second half,” Thorpe said. “We fumbled the first play of the second half and that puts you in a bad spot and they just executed defensively.”
AURORA CHRISTIAN 38, MARMION 14
Aurora Christian 0 6 25 7 – 30 Marmion 0 7 0 7 – 14
HOW THEY SCORED
MA – Fauce 78 run (Graham kick), 6:21 AC – Suttle 14 pass from McQuade (kick failed), 1:45Third quarter
AC – Windle 35 pass from McQuade (Bouagnon run), 9:16 AC – Hills 34 FG, 2:32 AC – Bouagnon 2 run (Hills kick), 0:18Fourth quarter
AC – Windle 9 pass from McQuade (Hills kick), 8:08 MA – Montalbano 80 pass from Faunce (Graham kick) 6:23 AC – Suttle 48 kick return (Hills kick) 6:16
RUSHING – Aurora Christian: Bouagnon 19-127, Mayes 12-68, McQuade 2-minus 2, Roza 1-8, Smith 2-12, Bray 1-minus 3, Totals: 38-209. Marmion: Faunce 17-99, Glasgow 7-16, Montalbano 1- 13, Meyers 2-2, Fitzgerald 2-minus 1, Eberth 2-16, Feltz 1-3 Totals: 32-148.
PASSING – Aurora Christian: McQuade: 15-24-2-228, Windle 1-1-17, Mayes 0-1-0. Marmion: Faunce: 6-13-136, Eberth 1-3-4.
RECEIVING – Aurora Christian: Suttle 3-33, Mayes 1-5, Windle 5-134, Roberts 2-15, Bouagnon 4-44, McQuade 1-17 Marmion: Sevenich 2-20, Glasgow 1-22 Meyers 2-14, Montalbano 1-80, Fitzgerald 1-4
TOTAL YARDS – Aurora Christian 454, Marmion 288