BUNKER HILL — The Marquette Catholic Explorers football team had few problems with the Bunker Hill Minutemen in Friday night’s Prairie State Conference contest at Bunker Hill.
The Explorers improved to 4-3 overall and 4-1 in the PSC with a 66-20 rout of the Minutemen, which fell to 4-3 and 2-3 in the PSC with the loss after starting the season 4-0.
Bunker Hill established an early lead, as it scored on its first drive with Larry Severs’ touchdown at the 7:53 mark to make the score 6-0.
Marquette coach Darrell Angleton admitted his team’s defense could have been better in the early minutes.
“Their guards were really giving our line problems in the beginning,” he said. “And we were working with a new defensive set up.”
But the Explores quickly answered with a seven play, 53-yard drive that concluded with a three-yard run into the end zone by quarterback Trey Aguirre. Liam Maher’s extra point gave Marquette a 7-6 advantage.
Bunker Hill failed to answer with its possession. The Minutemen didn’t even make it into Marquette territory. However, the Explorers scored on their next possessions.
Jesse Simmons’ 42-yard punt return put Marquette on Bunker Hill’s eight-yard line. D’Avion Peebles carried the ball into the end zone on the next play.
Severs touchdown at the 11:34 mark in the second quarter cut Marquette's lead to two points (14-12), but Bunker Hill couldn’t sustain the momentum. The Explorers answered with a 62-yard drive that concluded with another Peebles touchdown at the 9:55 mark to make the score 20-12.
Marquette continued to build its lead in the second quarter behind touchdowns from Peebles and Brady McAfee and a 30-yard field goal from Maher with less than a second left on the clock in the first half. The Explorers led 38-12 at halftime.
Angleton credited Aguirre with doing a good job of running the team’s offense. The quarterback connected on 6 of 10 passes for 105 yards.
The Explorers continued to dominate in the second half, as they scored one touchdown in the third quarter to extend their lead to 32-points (44-12).
Severs scored his last touchdown at the 2:11 mark in the third quarter to cut the score to 44-18 in favor of Marquette.
McAfee scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and Simmons posted one for the Explorers.
Maher turned in a solid performance at kicker, giving the Minutemen a long field to work with, as he posted eight touchbacks. He also scored on his only field goal attempt and hit nine out of nine extra points.
“He’s the best kicker in the area,” Angelton said. “If we get within 30-yards we’re going for a field goal. We’re not giving up points.”
Bunker Hill coach Thomas Haynes called his team “banged up and beat up.” The Minutemen had to play without regular running backs Christian Summers and Damin Jones.
Marquette returns to action at 7 p.m. next Friday when it takes on Metro East Lutheran at Public School Stadium.