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OTTAWA — The Marquette football team did to Abingdon-Avon Saturday what the Crusaders have done all season to its opponents.
In a Class 1A second-round playoff game in Ottawa, the Crusaders ran the ball and played assignment defense.
Marquette had 46 carries for 264 rushing yards and forced three turnovers on defense to key a 27-12 victory over the Tornadoes to lift the Crusaders into the quarterfinals.
“Last year hurt a lot losing (in the second round at home),” Marquette senior quarterback Patrick Killelea said. “We carried that on our shoulders this year. We don’t want that hurt again. We don’t want to go out on our home field as a loss.
“We came out tough and got a ‘W’ for our fans and made a statement for Marquette football.”
Marquette senior running back Jacob Martini had as many carries as the rest of the Crusaders’ ball carriers had combined. He made good use of his touches as he ran for 102 yards on 23 carries.
Killelea had 12 carries for 73 yards, Cole Lindhout finished with 82 yards on eight carries and Tyler Verona carried the ball three times for seven yards. Killelea, Lindhout and Verona scored a touchdown.
“Our line is so big that I can just hide behind them,” Lindhout said. “They make their blocks, do their assignments and that’s how we win.”
The one touchdown Marquette (11-0) didn’t score from a handoff was part of the momentum push in the Cru’s favor.
With the score 7-6 at halftime, the team put the ball in the air in the second half and scored on a 24-yard pass to Verona from Killelea.
“I think our defense did a great job the whole night and that was the key to our game,” Crusaders coach Tom Jobst said. “Offensively, their defense against our offense also did a great job. They gave us a lot of problems and we were lucky to get a good drive on the first series of the second half.”
After Killelea and Verona cushioned the lead to 14-6, the defense forced a Tornado fumble. The turnover shifted the momentum.
Also on defense, the Cru forced Abingdon-Avon’s star quarterback Zach Glisan (2,295 total yards and 26 touchdowns on the season) to go 7-of-14 with one touchdown and two interceptions. On the ground, Glisan rushed 12 times for 51 yards.
His season average was 17.3 yards per carry.
“They are a good team, a very disciplined team,” Tornadoes coach Rick Quinn Jr. said. “We knew coming into the game what they were going to do offensively and they had some success.
“Offensively is where we got into trouble. We had trouble moving the ball, sustaining drives, got behind the chains and you don’t want to get behind the chains on them.”
The Crusaders look to have the same kind of game against Chicago Leo in the Class 1A quarterfinals.
Jobst said his team had its best defensive game of the season and Lindhout, who had one of the Cru’s interceptions, said it can only get better.
“Our secondary did its assignments,” Lindhout said. “We’ve been practicing all week. We let that one big play go, but I’m sure we won’t let that happen again. We’ll make our adjustments and fix it up.”
Brandon LaChance can be reached at 220-6995, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance.
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