Not much goes right for Redmen in 42-3 opening-night loss
By RYAN SPITZA
Journal Sports Writer
MARQUETTE — Saying it wasn’t Marquette’s night might be an understatement.
The Redmen opened their season under rainy skies at William R. Hart Stadium in front of a full crowd who braved the raindrops.
But MSHS fell to Traverse City St. Francis 42-3, the fourth straight year Marquette has fell to the Gladiators to open the season.
Marquette certainly had its chances, but couldn’t find the end zone and turned the ball over in key situations that brought head coach Dave L’Huillier’s team down.
“Mistakes on offense obviously killed us,” he said. “First-and-goal at the (TCSF) 7(-yard line) after Ethan (Martysz) comes up with a big catch. And then we jump offside, give up a sack, but Drew (Wyble) kicked a field goal and we got points on the board, so that was great and that made the score 7-3.
“After that No. 10 (St. Francis’ Danny Passinault) goes running all over the field against us. He’s a great athlete but we missed a couple of tackles and big plays just killed us defensively.
“We had guys in position, they were there to make the play, and we just didn’t make the play in certain instances.”
L’Huillier added he was happy with the way his team battled, but the mistakes need to be cleaned up for next week.
“We battled and we opened the second half driving the ball all the way down the field and then fumbled the ball at the 2-yard line.
“Again, you can’t make mistakes like that against good teams. Give your hats off to Traverse City St. Francis, they’re a really good football team, but we can’t make that many mistakes like that and expect to win games.”
Gladiators head coach Josh Sellers credited his team’s defense for the lopsided score.
“The stop on that drive at the start of the second half turned the tide for sure,” he said. “Coach (L’Huillier) did a great job of making adjustments at halftime, using the fullback and going to the option, but we were able to stand up at the end.
“We knew we were going to be in a dogfight and I think if coach (L’Huillier) had everybody at his disposal, it would have been a different type of game.
“Injuries are biting (Marquette). We’re happy to come up here, it’s a great facility and Marquette is going to win some games this year.”
TCSF took the opening possession downfield quickly with Passinault, a senior quarterback, running for a 77-yard touchdown on the game’s second play from scrimmage.
Later in the quarter, Marquette senior QB Brendan Kaski connected for a long pass to senior wide receiver Ethan Martysz, setting up Marquette deep in Gladiator territory.
But the Redmen couldn’t capitalize as Wyble kicked his field goal to make it 7-3 with 2:39 left in the opening period.
Marquette had a chance to take the lead in the second quarter after TCSF senior kicker Quinn Wuerfel missed a 51-yard field goal. The Redmen drove to the TCSF 42 but couldn’t penetrate any deeper after getting stopped on fourth-and-2.
Two plays after the Gladiator took over, senior tight end Tom Hegewald rushed 45 yards for a TD to put the visitors up 14-3.
TCSF added another touchdown before halftime, making it 21-3 after a 40-yard run by senior running back George Mackey.
Marquette opened the second half running the ball and managed to drive for 12 plays, moving all the way to the TCSF 2 before MSHS senior running back Drew Gale fumbled on first-and-goal. The ball was recovered by St. Francis senior defensive back Evan McGee.
The Redmen defense bottled up TCSF For two plays before Passinault took a shotgun snap and ran for a 97-yard TD, putting the game all but out of reach at 28-3.
The Gladiators added two more TDs on a rushing TD by Passinault and 41-yard run from senior running back Artie Dutmers.
Kaski went 9 for 19 through the air for Marquette, while Gale led the way on the ground with 116 yards on 18 carries. Ethan Martysz led Redmen receivers with four catches for 106 yards.
Passinault was 0 for 5 passing but led the Gladiators with 272 yards on the ground and three TDs. Mackey had 46 on the ground while Hegewald had 45 and Dutmers 41, each getting a touchdown. McGee had one catch from junior backup quarterback Kolin Endres for seven yards.
Marquette committed four turnovers, all fumbles, while Traverse City St. Francis never lost the ball. The Gladiators recovered their only fumble.
Marquette travels to Traverse City Central (1-0) at 7 p.m. Thursday, while St. Francis goes to Maple City Glen Lake (0-1) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Email Ryan Spitza at firstname.lastname@example.org.