Although Marmion dominated statistically against Plainfield Central in its season and home opener on Saturday, the game was not really decided until the fourth quarter as the Cadets posted a 25-7 victory.
Mike Montalbano scampered 13 yards for a touchdown in the first minute of the game. After a Wildcat fumble, when quarterback Brock Krueger ran for a two-yard score to finish a short drive three minutes later, it seemed that the rout was on as the Cadets led 14-0.
“We knew we had to come out fast, hit hard, and get an early lead,” said Montalbano, who totaled 157 yards on only nine carries. “The line was strong, came out fast, and hit hard. They were mentally and physically tough.”
“It was a great team effort,” said sophomore runnin back Lucas Warren, who notched 97 yards on 14 carries. “Wide receivers were blocking — everybody was in there. But we had more turnovers than we should have.”
The turnover bug definitely hit Marmion for the remainder of the first half. The Cadets lost three fumbles and Kruger threw an interception near the goal line as the clock was ticking down.
Following a Marmion miscue, Plainfield Central quarterback Mike Smiles hit Dom Rios-Sterr on a 21-yard TD pass in the second quarter. The Wildcats trailed only 14-7 at the intermission in spite of only 100 yards of total offense compared to the Cadets’ 271.
Plainfield Central also fought turnovers, losing a fumble and throwing three interceptions in the first half.
Marmion’s defense allowed Plainfield Central nine offensive snaps in the third quarter, but was only able to score on a safety when Joe Talbot tackled QB Matt Gurke in the end zone at the six-minute mark. Smiles had left the game with an injury early in the quarter.
Following yet another interception by the Cadets, this one by Noel Abraham, Warren finished a short drive with a three-yard TD run on the first play of the fourth. Marmion finally had breathing room with a 22-7 lead.
Riley DeMoss finished the Cadets’ scoring with a 27-yard field goal at the midway point of the fourth.
Josh Meyers also was strong in Marmion’s rushing attack with 69 yards on eight carries. While four fumbles hurt the Cadets and were partly caused by a downpour early in the game, the Wildcats were the worse for wear with six interceptions.
“We have some size and guys who can run in linemen Luke Juriga and Zach Siwiec and some bigger backs who will block in Montalbano, Meyers, and Enzo Olabi,” Marmion coach Dan Thorpe siad. “We can reap the benefits. We also have to be able to play in these elements.”