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There are good starts — and there are better than good starts.
Marmion enjoyed the latter during Friday night's 39-0 triumph over Fenton (6-4) in the opening round of the Class 6A state football playoffs at Fichtel Field in Aurora.
On the first play from scrimmage, senior tailback Mike Montalbano took the handoff from quarterback Brock Krueger and raced 80 yards for a touchdown to put the Cadets (8-2) on top 7-0.
On Krueger's first pass attempt of the game, the senior tossed an 85-yard scoring strike to senior wide receiver Enzo Olabi for a 13-0 lead.
On his second — and last — pass attempt, Krueger connected with Josh Meyers for a 62-yard TD and the Cadets grabbed a 21-0 advantage.
"We didn't know what they would do defensively," said Marmion coach Dan Thorpe. "They really brought their free safety in a lot on the films so we prepared for that and we were able to take advantage of that.
"It's nice when you score on the first play (of the game) to set up that play because it's the same action in the backfield."
Meyers returned a few moments later on the defensive side and turned in another gem as his 34-yard interception for a touchdown capped a 27-point first-quarter explosion.
"The kid in front of me fell down from the other team and I just jumped the route and ran it in," said Meyers.
Senior teammate Seth Sevenich added a second-half interception as the Cadets won the turnover battle, 5-1.
"To shut them out, I was really impressed with our defense," said Thorpe, whose team limited the Bison to 144 total yards.
Offensively, the Cadets piled up 447 total yards, 300 of them coming on the ground as Montalbano (1 carry, 80 yards), Lucas Warren (14 carries, 76 yards) and Sean Campbell (4 carries, 68 yards) led the way.
Campbell closed out the scoring with a 66-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter — the Cadets' fourth TD covering 62 yards or more.
"They are a high-risk defense," Thorpe said of the Bison. "We had to be patient. Don't be bummed out if they stick us because the next time they're going to guess wrong and we're going to guess right and have a big play."
Reserve tailback Sam Breen scored the game's other TD on a 5-yard run with 4:55 left before halftime.
"We played the way we practiced and we had a great week of practice," said Thorpe, whose team played without starting tailback Jordan Glasgow (ankle injury). "It was an excellent team victory. Now let's see if we can put two (games) in a row together."
Fifth-seeded Marmion will visit 12th-seeded Prairie Ridge, a 21-14 winner over Lakes Friday night, next weekend in second-round action.
Alex Cowan gained 82 yards on 24 carries for Fenton.
"We put ourselves in a huge hole," said Bison coach Mark Kos. "But we played a competitive second half with them.
"I'm proud of the fact that we had 16 seniors who committed four years to our program," added Kos. "It's tough to say goodbye to them."