Prep football: Marquette puts complete game together in drubbing of Cheboygan

MARQUETTE – It was a lesson well learned.

Ask any coach or player on the Marquette Senior High School football team and they’ll say that was the secret to the Redmen’s 35-3 drubbing of Cheboygan in a high school football game played Friday evening.

A week ago, the Redmen built a 21-0 lead against Traverse City Central, only to watch the Trojans storm back in the second half and keep the outcome in doubt until the very end in a 31-23 final.

This week, there was no storming by the downstate visitors.

“For us, this was a total team effort, and for the whole game,” MSHS coach Dave L’Huillier said.

“Maybe we got too comfortable at halftime last week,” said Marquette senior receiver David Bashaw, who scored the only points of the second half this week after his team built a 28-3 halftime bulge.

“We made sure to keep our momentum, and not take anything for granted.”

Junior quarterback Brett Place agreed.

“You have to try and not get big heads, no matter how good you’re doing,” said Place, who wouldn’t be blamed if he did after throwing five touchdown passes.

The first three were to senior Kurt Burmeister with the final two to Bashaw.

“I had all kinds of time because our (offensive) line blocked so well for me,” Place said. “They were just getting low and keeping them away.”

That’s especially gratifying considering that the 2-0 Redmen have just one full-time and one part-time starter back from last season.

Cheboygan coach Jack Coon was impressed with Place.

“He’s got a good run-throw capability,” Coon said. “We blew a lot of coverages, and with the passing combination they have, you just can’t afford to do that.”

Place completed 12 of 18 passes for 177 yards, none intercepted, numbers similar to last week’s 11-of-18 night for 221 yards and three TDS.

Bashaw and Burmeister each made five catches, Bashaw for 96 yards and Burmeister for 67. Senior Gabe Apple added two catches for 26 yards.

Overall, Marquette outgained Cheboygan, 301-150.

The Marquette defense also found room to shine. The Indians had just three possessions that lasted more than four plays. One in the first half resulted in their only points – a 29-yard field goal by Austin Ginop after CHS (1-1) moved the ball to the Marquette 8-yard line.

“Defensively, we played extremely well,” L’Huillier said.

“We were reading our keys,” Bashaw said. “Our coaches had a plan and we were executing it. They told us exactly what we were supposed to do.”

He outlined a group of four assistant coaches who handle different parts of the defense – Dan Flynn with the line, Jim Iwanicki with the inside linebackers, Jim Marana with outside linebackers and Todd Koski with the backs.

While the MSHS defense came close but missed grabbing any interceptions from Cheboygan QB Luke Harrington, a pair of Redmen made momentum-swinging fumble recoveries.

Junior Connor Brazeau recovered a fumble on a Cheboygan punt return right after the Indians kicked their field goal in the middle of the second quarter, setting up a short field that resulted in Burmeister’s third TD catch and a 21-3 lead.

The other was by senior Cam Grant late in the third quarter that was effectively the Indians’ last gasp. MSHS turned around and marched in for their final score on another short field.

Marquette hits the road for the first time this season at 7 p.m. Friday for a game in Sault Ste. Marie.