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Marquette junior quarterback Trey Aguirre tosses to a receiver Friday at Public School Stadium vs. Quincy Notre Dame.
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Marquette sophomore Brian Nagy tackles Quincy Notre Dame senior Logan Arens on Friday.
ALTON — The Marquette Catholic Explorers kicked off their first home game of the season against the Quincy Notre Dame Raiders Friday night with impending storms lurking overhead.
A two and a half hour rain and lightning delay halted the Explorers and Raiders and win they returned to action, QND grabbed the win over Marquette 20-7.
The Explorers dropped to 0-2 with the loss, while the Raiders improved to 1-1.
"Both teams really wanted to get this game in tonight," said Marquette head coach Matt Bucher. "It's such a long drive for Quincy, it would make more sense to try to wait it out rather than reschedule for another day."
The Explorers kicked off to QND to start the game with dark clouds rolling in. The Raiders were able to punch it into the end zone with a 6-yard run from 5-foot-10 senior running back Logan Arens before the game was called with just under seven minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Just before 10 p.m., the storm and lightening pushed through the area and football resumed with the Explorers taking possession. The Explorers answered the Raiders with what would be their only touchdown in the contest with a 9-yard pass from junior quarterback Trey Aguirre to senior Danny Holtz to tie the game at 7-7, but QND quickly retook the lead with a 1-yard run from Logan Arens for his second TD of the game. The Explorers and Raiders took to the locker room at halftime with the Raiders leading 14-7.
Rain began to trickle down again in the third quarter as Marquette and QND resumed play for the second half. Marquette started a drive down field with a 25-yard pass from Aguirre to Holtz where he was brought down on the Raiders 37-yard line. The next down resulted in an interception with a Marquette trick play as sophomore Liam Maher tossed the ball for the Explorers and Quincy's Luke Frieden picked it off.
The scoreboard remained 14-7 deep into the fourth quarter until Raiders 5-9 senior Daylin Anders pushed through the Explorers defense with a 4-yard TD run for insurance. With the extra point bouncing off the left post, the Raiders led the Explorers 20-7, which would prove to be the final score.
"Our backs were against the wall on this game...we're not used to starting off our season 0-1 and our loss last week was a night similar to tonight where it just poured rain and we had lightning," QND head coach Bill Connell said. "We came here and we had to win, in IHSA if you start off the season 0-2 you've dug yourself a pretty deep hole and then chances of making playoffs are threatened."
Holtz led the Explorers in receiving yards with seven catches for 106 yards and a TD, while junior Brock Terry led in rushing yards with nine carries for 20 yards. Trey Aguirre was 10 of 18 for 130 yards with a TD and one interception. The Marquette defense was led by senior Riley Bamper with seven tackles and four assists, while Jayce Maag and Sam Stemm both had six tackles.
Quincy Notre Dame senior Daylin Anders led the Raiders in rushing with 29 carries for 150 yards and Parker Kientzie went 80 yards on 11 carries. The Raiders did not have a completion in the passing game. Kientzie was presented the game ball from the QND coaching staff in post-game discussions.
The Explorers came off a lopsided 49-7 loss in Week 1 to Civic Memorial to start their season off 0-1. Marquette looks forward to the first conference game of the season next week when they travel to South Fork.
"Now we're getting into conference schedule where we are facing teams that are closer to our competitive level." said Bucher. "This week we're going to focus back on the basics, we have yet to lose a conference game. That's something we'd like to continue."
The Explorers lost key players before the 2014 campaign began, but are staying focused and looking to strive to keep a strong Prairie State Conference presence.
"We've stayed positive throughout this process," Bucher said. "We can't dwell on the players we don't have and the boys have been fantastic about it. It's not about the players we don't have, it's about the players and talent we do have, they've bought into mine and the other coach's philosophy and that's why we've improved dramatically in just one week."
The Explorers make the journey to South Fork next week to face their first conference challenge and look forward to their next home game on Sept. 22 against Nokomis before meeting local rivals, the East Alton-Wood River Oilers on Sept 29th at EA-WR in their first season in the PSC.