Redmen charge past Gladstone
By RYAN STIEG
Journal Sports Writer
MARQUETTE – The Marquette Redmen needed a win to keep their slim prep football playoff hopes alive Friday night and they had it wrapped up by halftime.
Marquette quarterback Scott Tripp connected with wide receiver Patrick Burmeister for three touchdowns, one on a 77-yard bomb in the first quarter, in a 46-16 blowout victory over Gladstone. Tripp finished with 241 yards through the air.
“This was a great all-around win,” Marquette head coach Dave L’Huillier said. “I told the guys that everyone contributed and did a very good job.
“Our offensive line gave Scotty some time and he found some guys wide open and got them the ball. Patrick had some nice catches. Everybody did what they were supposed to do.”
“We also put some quality defensive stands together and got some three-and-outs. We got our offense some good field position. Our defense was much better this week.”
The Redmen got their first score on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Tripp to Burmeister and took a 6-0 lead. After forcing a Gladstone punt, Tripp and Burmeister hooked up again, this time for the 77-yarder and the Redmen led 13-0.
Gladstone got its first break of the game on the ensuing drive. Running back Owen Carlson returned the kickoff all the way to the Marquette nine yard line.
However, the Braves couldn’t do anything with the great field position and on fourth down, Marquette defensive lineman Payton Muljo sacked quarterback Ben Schwalbach and forced a fumble.
“Consistent play is something that eluded us tonight,” Braves head coach Jeff Hansen said. “We had some moments and strung together some plays where it looked like we were going to be able to do some things, but then we’d either make a mistake or drop an assignment somewhere.
“That’s just part of the process with our group. It’s learning how to keep stacking good plays together, whether it’s offense or defense and not dropping assignments at critical times. That’s what is going to help us get better.”
Marquette took advantage of the turnover and scored its third touchdown of the night. After picking apart the Gladstone secondary with his passes, Tripp scored on a 15-yard run and the Redmen led 20-0.
The Redmen then caught another break when a shanked Gladstone punt put the ball on the Braves’ 25-yard line. On the next play, Marquette running back Jack Kochevar ran almost untouched down the left sideline for Marquette’s fourth touchdown of the half.
Gladstone got on the scoreboard on its next possession. The Braves pounded the ball on the ground into Marquette territory, and then Schwalbach hit Hunter Garling with a long pass in tight coverage. Garling bobbled the ball, but hauled it in for a 42-yard touchdown.
Marquette bounced back on its next drive, though, taking advantage of two costly penalties before Tripp scored his second touchdown, this time from 1-yard out.
In the second half, the Redmen padded their lead to 40-7 on a 21-yard score with the third Tripp-Burmeister connection.
Gladstone notched a 36-yard field goal by James Bruce to close out the third quarter and whittle the deficit down to 30.
“James is a very good kicker,” Hansen said. “He’s been doing that all year. In my estimation, he’s the best kicker in the U.P. His kickoffs are stellar. He has been a very good player.”
Marquette put together a long drive on its next possession and Casey Horrocks scored on a 37-yard run.
Gladstone later picked up a meaningless touchdown on a 5-yard run by Matt Chenier before the game was called with 45 seconds left.
Although it was a frustrating night, Hansen said his team is in good shape.
“I feel like we’re right there,” he said. “We’re not getting kicked around or pushed around by a lot of other teams.
“But defensively, we have to find a way to not give up big plays. When we have the ability to get off the field, we have to do that.
“Offensively,” he added, “we have to find a way to be able to convert on critical downs. I think when we find a way to do that, we’ll end up with a better result.”
Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal. net.