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A quick look at Marquette’s opening-round playoff opponent, Princeville

Here is a first-peek look at Marquette Academy’s opening round IHSA Class 1A playoff game:

IHSA Class 1A Playoffs

Opening round

Princeville (5-4) at Marquette (8-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday at Gould Stadium, Ottawa

Last meeting: Princeville 37-14 (spring 2021)

About the Princes: The Princes have struggled offensively at times, but have scored more points in the last two games (62, 33-16 over Cambridge Ridgewood, 29-7 over Stark County) than it did in its first seven weeks combined (52) to earn its sixth postseason appearance in the last seven seasons under coach Jon Carruthers. The Crusaders undoubtedly remember Princeville from the 37-14 shellacking MA received there in Week 3 of the spring season, when the Princes rolled up 456 yards. Most of the players who did damage in that game – QB Sam Streitmatter 221 pass yards, Hunter Boland 165 rush, 3 TDs – are gone, but back are three key elements, including senior RB Denver Hoerr, the team leader who had 177 receiving yards in the spring game and 168 total yards in a 9-8 upset win over then No. 4-ranked Annawan-Wethersfield, the only team the Princes beat with a winning record. Also back are senior kicker RJ Ahten, whose 37-yard field goal as time expired won that A-W game, and senior RB Grant Hunt, who ran for 104 yards and two TDs (51, 10) in the must-win over Stark County.

About the Crusaders: Marquette, the second smallest school in the state still playing 11-man football, has been playing at a consistent high level on both sides of the ball all season. Offensively, backs Tom Durdan (1,768 total yards, 26 total TDs), Jurnee Reed (907-13), Julian Alexander (543-8) and QB Alex Graham (1,090 yards, 14 TDs passing) have been stellar, leading MA to an average of 45.3 points a game. Meanwhile, the defense, led by senior twins Beau and Brady Ewers, has given up only 138 yard per game the last six weeks. That effort includes just 123 yards, blocked two punts and intercepted three passes in Saturday’s 55-14 win over Fisher. The Cru likewise have defeated only one team with a winning mark – Chicago Hope 62-42 in Week 5 – and has met just two teams in the postseason, while Princeville has faced five.

- Charlie Ellerbrock