Photo by Diane Cox
Pictured are senior members of the Marquette Explorers for 2015. In front from left to right are: Sam Dooling, Brock Terry and Jesse Simmons. In back from left to right are: James Jernigan and Trey Aguirre.
There’s a new guy in charge of Marquette Catholic High School football, but he’s familiar with the duties.
Darrell Angleton, 50, a former Explorers’ assistant coach, is taking over the high-profile program from Matt Bucher, the Marquette head coach the last two seasons. Bucher, a former player at the school, resigned his football job to pursue a business opportunity.
And Angleton, an assistant for Bucher the past two seasons, can’t wait to start the season. Marquette opens at home Saturday night against neighbor Civic Memorial. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Public School Stadium.
“It’s exciting for me and I think the boys have made it that way,” Angleton, a Roxana High graduate, said of the Explorers. He learned his football playing the game for Charlie Raich and Bill Smith at Roxana.
It’s the first head coaching assignment for Angleton, yet he’s armed for it. Prior to assisting the Explorers, he coached in the youth ranks for years.
“I think it’s where my military experience and owning a business come in handy,” Angleton said of his new leadership role. “I can see the big picture and delegate things that need to be done.”
He’s a 2002 grad of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Angleton recently retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Army Reserves and owns the Alton-based Herlacher Angleton Associates LLC, an environmental engineering consulting firm.
The Explorers are coming off a 5-4 season where they narrowly missed qualifying for the IHSA playoffs. Angleton’s goal is to get them back to postseason play and the surefire way to do that is to finish first in the Prairie State Conference. Marquette, a Class 4A team for playoff purposes, plays seven games in the Class 1A league.
“If you win the conference, you are in the playoffs,” Angleton said. “Otherwise, you need to have at least a 6-3 record to get into them. So the way we gauge it is that we want to win the conference and go as far as we can in the playoffs.”
Pawnee won it last year and Marquette bowed to the Indians and Nokomis in PSC action. The Explorers also lost to CM and Quincy Notre Dame in non-league play. They are at QND the second week of this season.
Senior quarterback Trey Aguirre expects to lead an experienced and talented crew. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Aguirre passed for 1,136 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. He also ran for three TDs.
“Trey is a second-year starter and first-team, all-conference quarterback,” Angleton said. He is more mature this year and in phenomenal shape. He will do what it takes to win because he is such a leader.”
Top threat Danny Holtz has graduated, so Aguirre will have to find a favorite target. Holtz snared 39 passes for 777 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He’s at Dayton.
Running backs Brady McAfee, a 6-1, 190-pound junior; Liam Maher, a 5-6, 185-pound junior and Brock Terry, a 5-8, 220-pound senior; should spur the running game. They combined for more than 750 yards rushing last season. Maher is also a quality kicker.
Senior James Jernigan, junior Jeremy Strebel, sophomore speedster D’Avion Peebles and Aaron Gregory, another sophomore, also are part of the picture.
The Marquette backfield appears to be deep, speedy and explosive.
Senior Jesse Simmons, junior Brian Nagy, junior Tyler Menke and sophomore Will Hurst could be among the Explorers’ leading receivers.
Look for senior center Sam Stemm, senior guard Sam Dooling, junior tackle Marshall Youngblood, junior guard Konnor Morrissey and sophomore tackle Adam Strozewski to work on the offensive line.
“We have size, experience and depth with our offensive linemen,” Angleton said.
It’s 300-pound junior James King serving as an anchor for the defensive line. Sophomore James Malone, junior Xavior Jones and Terry could also work there.
Stemm, Hurst, McAfee and Nagy are cast as linebackers, with Strebel, Jernigan and Aguirre positioned in the secondary.
Quick Hits/2015 Outlook
Team: Marquette Explorers
Head coach: Darrell Angleton
Conference: Prairie State
2014 Record: 5-4, 4-2
Career record: First Year
Last playoff: 2013 first-round Class 4A
NAME HT WT POS
Trey Aguirre 6-1 170 QB-S
Sam Dooling 5-10 205 OL-LB
James Jernigan 5-11 175 WR-DHB
Jesse Simmons 5-8 150 WR-DHB
Brock Terry 5-8 220 RB-DE
Xavier Jones 5-6 162 DE-LB
James King 6-3 300 OT-NG
Brady McAfee 6-1 190 RB-LB
Tyler Menke 6-1 210 TE-OL
Konnor Morrissey 5-11 225 OL-DL
Brian Nagy 5-10 155 WR-LB
Andrew Scroggins 5-9 150 WR
Sam Stemm 5-9 225 C-LB
Jeremy Strebel 5-9 145 RB-DHB
Alex Tesson 6-2 280 OL-DL
Marshall Youngblood 6-5 255 OL-DL
Andrew Angleton 5-10 205 OL-DL
Kyle Bengel 5-8 172 TE-LB
John Blachford 6-0 160 WR-DHB
Drew Brinkman 6-0 210 OL-DL
Brandon Buhs 6-0 220 OL-DL
Andrew Dixon 5-10 220 OL-DL
Jarren Ehlers 6-0 190 OL-DL
Austin Geiger 5-11 160 WR-DHB
Aaron Gregory 5-8 160 RB-LB
Will Hurst 5-11 188 TE-LB
Jayce Maag 5-7 130 QB-DHB
James Malone 5-10 230 OL-DL
D’Avion Peebles 5-7 150 RB-DHB
Cameron Rainey 6-0 150 RB-LB
Adam Strozewski 6-2 270 OL-DL
Ryan Boschert 5-9 150 WR
Zach Forte 5-7 185 LB
Evan Hendricks 6-0 205 OL-DL
Jacob Hendrickson 5-5 130 WR
Jack Parker 5-10 165 WR-LB
Riley Siener 5-4 121 WR-DHB
Treven Swingler 5-9 150 WR-DHB
Kaleb Ware 5-10 150 RB-LB
Jack Warren 5-11 140 OL-LB
Garrett Weiner 5-7 120 WR-DHB
Ralph Williams 6-3 270 OL-DL
Aug. 29, 7 p.m. vs. Civic Memorial
Sept. 4, 7 p.m. at Quincy Notre Dame
Sept. 12, 7 p.m. vs. Kincaid South Fork*
Sept. 18, 7 p.m. at Nokomis*
Sept. 26, 1 p.m. vs. East Alton-Wood River*
Oct. 3, 1 p.m. vs. Pawnee*
Oct. 9, 7 p.m. at Bunker Hill*
Oct. 16, 7 p.m. vs. Metro East Lutheran*
Oct. 23, 7 p.m. at Mount Olive*
*Denotes conference games