Marquette piles up 569 yards in thrashing of Chicago Christian

Three 100-yard rushers, stout defense lift Crusaders to 2-0

PALOS HEIGHTS – As far as offensive outbursts go, the one Marquette Academy put on Chicago Christian has to rate among the school’s best in the last several years … and the one the defense posted wasn’t bad either.

Junior back Tom Durdan rushed just eight times, but for 139 yards and four touchdowns, and he wasn’t the only star in the Crusaders attack. New fullback Pete McGrath added 117 yards on 11 carries, and junior back Jurnee Reed added 16 carries for 104 yards for most of MA’s 417 ground yards on the night, while junior quarterback Alex Graham connected on 8-of-13 passes for another 142 yards.

Together, they led the Cru to a whopping 569 yards of offense in a 47-8 rout of the Knights on Friday night in the suburbs.

“For what we’ve been through, with basically just one hard practice in the last two weeks and to come out and do this, it’s just amazing. I’m just elated with the way we’re playing right now.”

—  Marquette football coach Tom Jobst

While the offense was superb, the defense was equally devastating, giving up just 169 total yards and one score late in the first half to the CC team that posted 56 points in its Week 1 win at home against Chicago Noble/Hansberry.

The Cru will put their 2-0 mark on the line next Friday at 7 p.m. at Deer Creek-Mackinaw.

“For what we’ve been through, with basically just one hard practice in the last two weeks and to come out and do this, it’s just amazing. I’m just elated with the way we’re playing right now,” said Marquette coach Tom Jobst. “The run looked good, Alex was good on the pass, the receivers made some great catches, and the line did great.

“There’s really nothing to complain about in this one.”

Durdan capped Marquette’s first possession with his first score, a 15-yarder just over three minutes into the game. While the defense was holding the Knights to three-and-outs on their first three possessions, McGrath got the second TD from 5 yards out in the first quarter before Graham found Charlie Mullen for 24-yard score midway through the second. Sam Mitre added PAT kicks after all three.

It was then that Julian Alexander recovered a squibbed Mitre kickoff to set up another Graham scoring aerial, this time a 14-yard strike to Durdan to make it 28-0.

To this point, with 1:39 left in the half, Chicago Christian had 6 yards of offense. A 12-yard run by quarterback Luke Jelderks, whose 47 yards rushing and 132 yards passing accounted for nearly all the Knights could muster, ruined the shutout.

Durdan added runs of 23 and 73 yards in the third period to widen the lead before Payton Gutierrez’s 7-yard touchdown with 1:32 left in the fourth period capped the scoring.

“The best feeling in football is seeing nothing but green grass out ahead of you,” said Durdan, who hadn’t played football at all until he arrived at Marquette for his freshman year. “We came out of a timeout, and I knew we needed a big play to put the game away. The line blocked great … and that’s because of everyone else. Without all the other weapons we have, I wouldn’t have the holes like I’ve had. It’s a great luxury to have.”

“Tom? Yeah, too bad he’s so slow,” joked Jobst. “Is that right, four touchdowns? That’s amazing. Tom’s a hard worker, and he could be on the coaching staff right now because he understands what’s going on and why we do things. He’s a smart player and very gifted.”

Jobst pointed out that though his winged-T attack is usually fullback led, the fact that MA is dominating things off the edges is simply an adjustment to his personnel.

“We haven’t given up on the run up the middle by any stretch,” the coach said. “We’re just taking advantage of what we have and what we can do. You scratch what’s itching, and if it’s working, you just keep going. …

“The great thing about our kids is that they see things that are happening on the field and they come over and tell us, and when they tell me something, I can trust it. They’re smart kids.”