BETHALTO — Mike Parmentier's first game as head coach of the Civic Memorial Eagles ended victoriously, it just took his team a little while to get there.
CM defeated the rival Marquette Catholic Explorers 30-0 on Friday at Lewis Hauser Field in Bethalto to give the Eagles a season-opening win. After entering halftime in a scoreless stalemate, CM scored 30 unanswered points in the second half.
It's the third straight year the Eagles have opened the season with a victory over Marquette. They beat them 50-21 in '15 and 49-7 in '14.
Parmentier gave a spirited halftime speech to get his team riled up for their second half surge on Friday.
“We just kind of talked about how Marquette was not going to lay down for us,” Parmentier said. “We weren't just going to roll out our helmets, Marquette's got a lot of fight. They're going to have a heck of a football team and a heck of a year. They challenged us in every single way and we were lucky to get rolling in the second half.”
A heavy dose of the running game from CM, led by Corey Price with 111 yards and a touchdown and 84 yards and a TD from Camryn Gerhardt led the way. A beefy Eagles' offensive line was the true star though. Andrew Deckard (6-1, 320), Brandon Deckard (6-1, 280), Curtis Deckard (6-4, 300), Cody Reynolds (6-2, 285) and Eli Jones (6-4, 230) are a load to handle.
“This is probably as big of a defensive and offensive line that I'm going to see,” Explorers' head coach Darrell Angleton said. “The average weight is 250, 260 and I'm not going to see that anywhere else.”
Parmentier added about his running game and offensive line, “I've got two great backs in there (Price, Gerhardt) and Rikki Lafferty did a great job and Nick Newell at the upback as well. Then the offensive line, they could have felt sorry for themselves (after the first half) and put their heads in the ground, or come out and block and they came out and played a lot more physical in the second half. Kudos to them.”
Senior David Lane did it on both sides of the ball for the Eagles, too. Lane logged two interceptions on defense Friday and hauled in a 37-yard TD pass from quarterback Brayden Pierce for CM's fourth and final score of the game.
“Marquette gave us a bigger fight than I thought they were going to give us,” Lane said. “They were a good team and their corners were doing a good job and I just made a good play on that last touchdown there. As for the picks, I just let my instincts work. I knew my defensive line was going to put pressure on them. I was just reading them and I read them right a couple times.”
It was tough going offensively for both teams in the first half. Price recovered a short Marquette punt in the first quarter deep in Explorer territory, running it 18 yards to the Marquette 8-yard line. CM moved it to the 6, but was stopped by the Marquette defense.
Lane picked off quarterback Brady McAfee for a 44-yard return early in the second quarter, but again no points were scored. Pierce gave the ball back to the Explorers, throwing an interception to Treven Swingler, who ran it back 25 yards.
Marquette suffered its second turnover of the first half when running back D'avion Peebles fumbled the ball deep in CM's territory. Jones recovered the ball for the Eagles and sent the game into the locker rooms scoreless.
“That turnover at the end of the first half was really a borderline turnover,” Angleton said. “That was a breaker, because you're hoping to go in up 7-0 and you know you get the ball in the second half.”
But coming out of the break, the game belonged to CM.
Gerhardt put the Eagles on the scoreboard at the 7:12 mark of the third quarter on a 7-yard plunge. He also ran in the 2-point conversion to put CM up 8-0.
Lane's second pick set up the Eagles' next score. He ran the interception back 25 yards and Pierce dove in from 1-yard out on a quarterback keeper at the 4:08 mark of the third quarter. Gerhardt converted the 2 points to make it 16-0.
Price joined the fun at the 11:00 mark of the fourth quarter. He rumbled in from 3 yards out and Pierce found Lane for the 2-point conversion to up it to 24-0.
The final CM score came with 4:18 left when Pierce connected with Lane on a 37-yard TD strike. The 2-point conversion failed.
Marquette's fifth and final turnover came on the next play when Newell logged an interception for the Eagles.
Peebles led the offense for the Explorers, logging 53 yards on 14 carries. McAfee was 3-for-9 through the air for 14 yards with three interceptions. Peebles, Brian Nagy and Jeremy Strebel each had one catch for Marquette.
Pierce was 2-for-13 passing for the Eagles with 44 yards, a TD and a pick. Lane had both receptions. Rikki Lafferty also had 48 yards rushing for CM, which gained 254 yards on the ground as a team.
The Eagles stay home for Week 2, welcoming Salem at 7 p.m. on Sept. 2. The Explorers enjoy their home opener at 7 p.m. on Sept. 3 against Mater Dei. They will honor former standout and NFL player Craig Hentrich by retiring his number at halftime at Public School Stadium.