Redmen’s Martysz torches Soo for 4 TDs

Marquette’s Kameron Karp, top, is hit by Sault Ste. Marie’s Tate Kay on Friday evening in Marquette. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

MARQUETTE — The Marquette football team limped home last weekend with an 0-2 record and was in desperate need of a spark to ignite a potentially potent offense.

On Friday, Redmen senior receiver Ethan Martysz provided that spark early in the first half and once he got hot, Marquette’s fire couldn’t be doused.

Martysz ended up torching the Sault Ste. Marie defense for 166 yards and four touchdowns as the Redmen rolled over the Blue Devils 42-20 to nab their first win.

When asked about his big night, Martysz stayed modest, though, and credited his teammates for doing their jobs.

“I was just in the position to make plays,” he said. “The line did a great job protecting for (quarterback Brendan) Kaski and he threw it up there and I just did my thing and went and got it. It was a great night.”

Marquette head coach Dave L’Huillier said that Martysz knows his position well and he and Kaski did a great job working together.

“Ethan knows how to play wide receiver,” L’Huillier said. “How to get open, how to move a defender, how to set him up and he’s got some good speed so he makes things happen.

“The line did a great job protecting and we were able to run the ball enough to keep him honest. When we needed a big play, though, Brendan threw a great ball and Ethan made great catches.”

The Redmen struck first on their opening possession when Kaski found Martysz along the far sideline for a 13-yard TD. Drew Wyble nailed the extra point and Marquette led 7-0.

After stopping the Soo on fourth down deep in its own territory, Marquette got on the scoreboard again as Kaski connected with Martysz for another TD, this one a 38-yarder and the Redmen held a 13-0 advantage at the end of the first.

Marquette seemed to be in control but things started to unravel in the second quarter. On fourth down on the Redmen 7-yard line, Soo quarterback Tate Kay hit Robert Landis in the back of the end zone for the score. Both Landis and a Marquette defender came down holding the ball but it was ruled a touchdown. The Redmen blocked the extra point and led by 7.

The Blue Devils got on the board again with three minutes left in the half after capitalizing on a Marquette turnover. Kaski was picked off by Soo defensive back James Huskey, and two plays later running back Kristopher Pearce plunged into the end zone on a 12-yard run. SSM also picked up the 2-point conversion and grabbed its first lead, 14-13.

Marquette wasn’t deterred, though. Kaski connected with Martysz for a 29-yard first down, and with 1:33 remaining tight end Alex Cannoot caught a pass by the Redmen sideline and charged ahead for a 12-yard TD. The Redmen also got the 2-point conversion and led 21-14 at the half.

The second half was all Marquette. On its first possession of the second half, Martysz caught a 40-yard scoring pass from Kaski and later in the third, Kaski and Martysz hooked up again for a 35-yard score.

Up 35-14 in the fourth quarter, the Redmen notched their last TD when Brady Wright leaped over a pile of lineman for a 3-yard score. The Blue Devils got one touchdown back on a nice 56-yard run by Kay, but the outcome had been determined.

L’Huillier said that his team needed this victory and it will help give them that the boost they need with Escanaba coming to town next week.

“It’s a huge confidence boost for our kids because they know they can do it, but they needed this,” he said. “We needed to get up right away, which helped. We had a couple big plays at the start, but then we let them back in it.

“Our kids responded really well in the second half. They did a great job and did exactly what they were supposed to do.”

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.