Prep football: Beauchamp, Smith lead Marquette over Gladstone on homecoming
MARQUETTE – After being pushed around by Escanaba last week, the Marquette Senior High School football Redmen were in no mood Friday night for a repeat performance.
They didn’t let it happen.
Behind a punishing ground attack, the Redmen clubbed visiting Gladstone, 63-32, in a Great Northern Conference game at William Hart Stadium.
“We got back on the right track,” said Marquette junior running back Brett Beauchamp, who gained 251 yards rushing on just 11 carries. “We let people down last week, so we picked it up this week.”
Now at 4-1 overall, MSHS needs just one win out of its next three games to qualify for postseason play. The teams it will face, however – Kingsford, Negaunee and Menominee – sport a combined 14-1 record to date.
Senior back Paul Smith added 96 yards rushing on 14 attempts and scored four touchdowns. Teammate and MSHS junior Elijah picked up 105 yards in nine carries and a score in the homecoming contest.
“Our offensive linemen made the holes. They did a phenomenal job,” Marquette head coach Dave L’Huillier said.
“We were consistent on offense all night. We scored every time we touched the ball in the first half.”
The Redmen spotted the Braves a touchdown just 2:37 into the game. Gladstone senior running back Riley Ballard got behind the MSHS defensive secondary and caught a 70-yard TD pass from senior quarterback Sam Pouliot.
“We were in man coverage and we jumped a route,” L’Huillier said. “They made a great throw and great catch. It was our only defensive mistake on the night.”
The Redmen (1-1 GNC) responded, however, with 28 unanswered points – all on TDs by Smith – to claim a 20-point halftime lead.
Beauchamp ran for 179 yards the first two quarters and had five runs of at least 25 yards.
“It was my offensive line,” he said. “I was running five or 10 yards without being touched. They opened holes where I could see the field and make cuts.”
Gladstone first-year head coach Cody Kangas, saying his team’s first TD came off “our best first drive of the year,” said the Redmen were “more aggressive and physical” than his Braves (0-5, 0-2).
“They run right at you with a basic Wing-T and we didn’t stop it,” he said.
“But our kids never gave up. At halftime, even being down 28-8, our captains got up and rallied the troops.”
But MSHS, helped by a Gladstone personal foul on a punt that kept a drive going, scored the first time it had the ball in the second half.
Junior quarterback Brett Place hit senior wide receiver Kurt Burmeister for a 30-yard TD aerial for a 35-8 lead.
Ballard then caught a nine-yard TD pass from Pouliot, but Beauchamp then capped his night with a 66-yard run for a score and – with one of Max Bednarek’s nine PAT kicks in the game making it 42-16 only 12 seconds into the final quarter.
The two teams then traded TDs, with Ballard adding two scores to his night’s resume on runs of 59 and 80 yards against MSHS reserves. He wound up with 214 total yards rushing.
“The kids executed our offense and did a great job there,” Kangas said. “But our defense needs some work.”