AURORA – Everyone knows Marmion likes to run the football, as the Cadets attempted only two passes Friday night in a steady drizzle at Fichtel Field.
But those two passes surprised Fenton and went for long touchdowns to help Marmion jump out to a 27-0 first-quarter lead. The Cadets (8-2) went on to rout the Bison, 39-0, in an IHSA Class 6A first-round game.
“They really brought their free safety up a lot we saw on the film,” Marmion coach Dan Thorpe said. “So we prepared for that and we were able to take advantage of it.”
Marmion senior quarterback Brock Krueger hit Enzo Olabi running wide open down the middle of the field on the first pass, which went for 85 yards. A short time later, Krueger made a play-action fake and fired a strike to another open receiver, as Josh Meyers hauled in the pass for a 72-yard touchdown to increase the lead to 21-0.
“It was pretty slippery out,” Meyers said. “The play before, it worked with Enzo, and that play, we’ve been doing it in practice a lot, and the [defender] just fell behind me and I beat him.”
Although the passes went to two different receivers, the play was the same.
“It’s a play action,” Krueger noted. “We fake the sweep, I drop back about a three-step drop, and we have a guy streaking down the right side. Their safeties were playing at about six yards [deep], so we got behind the safeties and we were all good from there.”
The Cadets set up the passes by running the sweep on their first play from scrimmage. Mike Montalbano took the handoff, found a seam, broke an arm tackle, cut back across the grain and sprinted 80 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown.
“It’s nice when you score on the first play to set up that [pass] play because it’s the same action in the backfield,” Thorpe said. “So with Montalbano taking it right away, that was wonderful.”
Fenton defensive back Alex Cowan said the passes caught the Bison (6-4) by surprise.
“We didn’t see them pass very much [on film],” Cowan said. “It’s pretty much a powerhouse run team. They threw some good passes and beat us.”
Cowan was the main focus of the Fenton offense, which came as no surprise to the Cadets.
“That was our main thing in practice,” Meyers said. “One of the sophomores, who is really agile and small, he was like [Cowan] for the week. That helped us a lot.”
Cowan carried the ball 22 times for 78 yards. He also was the target of quarterback William Wassmann on nine pass attempts and had four receptions for 37 yards. One of the times Cowan was targeted worked in Marmion’s advantage late in the first quarter when Meyers intercepted the ball and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown.
“Sadly, the kid in front of me fell down on the other team,” Meyers said. “I think it was [Cowan]. I just jumped the route and ran it in.”
That gave the Cadets a 27-0 lead, and Marmion was content to grind away yardage with big sophomore fullback Lucas Warren, who rushed 14 times for 74 yards. He carried the ball 10 times in the second quarter, setting up a 5-yard TD run by Sam Breen.
Junior Sean Campbell broke loose for a 67-yard scoring run in the third quarter to cap the scoring.
Next up for Marmion is a trip next weekend to Prairie Ridge (6-4), which used a late goal-line stand to hold off Lakes (8-2) on Friday, 21-14.
MARMION 39, FENTON 0
Fenton 0 0 0 0 - 0
Marmion 27 6 6 0 - 39
HOW THEY SCORED
Marmion - Montalbano 80 run (Hoeft kick), 11:41
Marmion - Olabi 85 pass from Krueger (pass failed), 8:41
Marmion - Meyers 72 pass from Krueger (Meyers run), 3:06
Marmion - Meyers 34 interception return (kick failed)
Marmion - Breen 5 run (kick failed)
Marmion - Campbell 67 run (kick failed)
RUSHING - Fenton: Cowan 20-78, McPherson 7-8, Lucas 1-minus 6, Corona 6-21, Murillo 1-4, Wassmann 2-minus 14. Totals: 37-91. Marmion: Montalbano 1-80, Campbell 4-68, Warren 14-74, Breen 2-1, Krueger 2-20, Olabi 1-3, Meyers 4-23, Feltz 4-4, Abraham 1-minus 2, Scanlan 1-7, Gunderson 1-0, Arnold 6-18. Totals: 41-296.
PASSING - Fenton: Wassmann 6-18-2-50, Cowan 0-1-0-0. Marmion: Krueger 2-2-0-157.
RECEIVING - Fenton: Cowan 4-37, Garcia 1-9, Lucas 1-4. Marmion: Olabi 1-85, Meyers 1-72.
TOTAL OFFENSE -- Marmion 453, Fenton 141