Marmion's depth paves way to shutout win
Veteran Marmion Academy football coach Dan Thorpe is a forward thinker.
Sure, the rotation of running backs, fullbacks and linemen he used Saturday helped the Cadets handle the 82-degree weather throughout a 49-0 matinee win over Von Steuben on the artificial surface at Chicago's Winnemac Park.
In the bigger picture, such a rotation was more a matter of keeping his team fresh for the meat of the CCL/ESCC schedule that lies ahead.
"We got worn down late in the year last year," Thorpe said of a 4-7 season that fell shy of playoff qualification. "We have to rotate people now. We're doing that because we have games we have to win in the month of October."
Marmion (2-0) had little trouble with Von Steuben (0-2), a playoff team a year ago that graduated the bulk of the players responsible for that program's first postseason appearance.
Offensively, the Cadets raced to a 28-0 halftime lead as eight separate ball carriers rushed for 147 yards.
"We have a lot of running backs who are competent and can run the ball hard," said fullback Anthony Saltijeral, who led the way with 12 carries for 59 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Marmion added a pair of third-quarter touchdowns to initiate a running clock with 49 seconds left in the period. The Cadets gained 353 total yards, 234 via the ground game.
The defense was just as dominant. The unit allowed a 22-yard run on the Panthers' first play, but a series of tackles for loss by outside linebacker Major Haas and company effectively shut down Von Steuben, which netted 17 total yards.
"I think we played pretty well," Haas said of the defense. "We just need a little more effort, but it will come. It was bad conditions out here. It was super hot."
The Cadets broke on top early. After receiving the opening kick, they drove 81 yards in 11 plays, capped by a 6-yard run from Gibson Marshall.
After an interception by junior Jack Scales gave the Cadets the ball at their own 40-yard line, quarterback Padraig Fitzgerald immediately found Haas behind the defense. He raced 60 yards to pay dirt to make it a 14-0 lead with 3:58 left in the first quarter.
"I noticed that they weren't necessarily covering that area, so I knew that I probably would get the ball," Haas said. "I got it and I just turned around and ran as fast as I could."
Marmion added a 1-yard scoring run by Saltijeral and a 4-yard scoring run by Garrett Durian in the second quarter.
After Fitzgerald left the game with a minor injury for precautionary reasons, backup Danny Chung, a sophomore, connected with Garrett Durian for a 33-yard, third-quarter touchdown pass.
Saltijeral and sophomore Drew Grabacki each scored on short runs to complete the onslaught.
"I'm very happy to be able to play a lot of kids, number one, and that we came out fairly healthy," Thorpe said.
The Cadets return to Chicago next week to face De La Salle.