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Marquette quarterback Trey Aguirre looks down field Friday in Wood River while Darian McLemore of the Oilers is in pursuit.
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EA-WR freshman Zac Womack carries the ball while teammate Dreyton Daugherty looks to block.
WOOD RIVER – Trey Aguirre said the Marquette Explorers did what they needed to do Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
They zipped past the host East Alton-Wood River Oilers, 44-0, in a Prairie State Conference game. Marquette improved to 2-3 overall and 2-1 in league play. EA-WR is 0-5 0-3.
“We had to show what we were made of tonight,” said Aguirre, the Explorers’ gritty 5-foot-10, 160-pound junior quarterback.
Marquette took advantage of four EA-WR fumbles, led 14-0 by the end of the first quarter and 37-0 at halftime. The Explorers never looked back the rest of the way and put the finishing touches on their first shutout of the season.
“We wanted to play crisp, fundamental football and I think we did that,” Explorers’ coach Matt Bucher said. “Our defense played tremendously. They were very disciplined and solid.”
Jeremy Strebel, Xavior Jones, Brady McAfee and Cian Donovan of Marquette recovered fumbles and the Explorers’ defense limited the Oilers to 89 yards of total offense. EA-WR had just two yards of offense in the first half.
“We have just three seniors out there, so we are playing a lot of young kids, including freshmen,” EA-WR coach Joe Parmentier said. “We are very inexperienced and those fumbles hurt us.
“And they (Explorers) physically beat us, too. They have too much speed.”
Aguirre and receiver Danny Holtz spurred the Explorers’ offense, which benefited from choice field position all night. Seven times — six in the first half — they began ball possession in EA-WR territory.
Holtz snared touchdown passes of 11 and 27 yards from Aguirre. The Marquette quarterback also pitched a 35-yard score to Harry Howell and scored on runs of 3 and 25 yards.
“I’d say it was one of my better games,” Aguirre said.
Bucher noted, “Danny did his thing and Trey, as always, did a great job in leading the offense. One of the things I was happy to see was a lot of guys contributing.”
Brock Terry pitched in with a 6-yard touchdown run, while sophomore Liam Maher booted a 31-yard field goal and five extra points. Aguirre completed 5 of 18 passes for 150 yards and Holtz snagged three passes for 75 yards. Howell had two catches for 75 yards.
“Our defense stepped up for us and it was a ‘must win’ for us,” Holtz said. “It’s a ‘must win’ every week now.”
It’ll be the Explorers playing host to Pawnee next Friday in a game that could decide the conference championship. EA-WR is scheduled to welcome Metro East Lutheran in its homecoming game. However, the short-handed Knights, now 0-5, have forfeited their last two games.
The Oilers hope to know Monday whether MELHS will field enough players for its Week 6 game. “I think they will play us and we will try to do the best we can next week,” Parmentier said.
Meanwhile, he will continue to stress progress in a transition season, the Oilers’ first one in Prairie State.
“I’ve been very positive with them,” Parmentier said, “and the kids have come together as a team. There is just a lot of wear and tear on them because we have so many young guys. But they are working hard.”
Running back Dreyton Daugherty sparked EA-WR with 52 yards rushing against the Explorers. Yet the Oilers got no closer than the Marquette 21 and that came in the closing seconds.
Follow Steve Porter on Twitter @StevePorter51
MARQUETTE CATHOLIC 44, EA-WR 0
Marquette 14 23 7 0 – 44
EA-WR 0 0 0 0 – 0
M – Aguirre 3 run (Maher kick), 9:49
M – Holtz 11 pass from Aguirre (Maher kick), :3.6
M – FG Maher 31, 10:43
M – Holtz 27 pass from Aguirre (Maher kick), 7:59
M – Terry 6 run (Maher kick), 4:19
M – Aguirre 25 run (kick failed), :45.0
M – Howell 35 pass from Aguirre (Maher kick), 6:19