OTTAWA — On what everyone in the entire Illinois Valley is undoubtedly dubbing the first "football weather" Friday of the 2019 season, the Marquette Crusaders showed they are comfortable performing well no matter what the temperature or who the opponent.
Already ahead 14-0 on touchdowns by quarterback Jay Scott and fullback Preston Aukland, the Cru saw fellow fullback Shane Reynolds explode for three TDs in the second period alone, and halfback Luke Couch added two more on long runs in the third as MA rolled to a 49-14 demolition of South Beloit here at Gould Stadium.
Marquette, now 7-0 and No. 6 in the most recent Associated Press Class 1A poll, clinched its seventh Northeastern Athletic Conference championship in its eight years in the league with its fourth win in as many conference games by rolling to 385 ground yards and 461 yards of total offense in the victory.
On the other side of the ball, the Cru allowed the pass-oriented Sobos and quarterback Chris Hummer 271 yards and two scores, but both tallies and 150 of those yards came from the middle of the third quarter on against the hosts' second-team defense. They also limited SB to negative-7 yards on 12 rushing carries.
"(Assistant coach Tim Jobst) had a nice game plan and allowed us to show something a little different than what we usually do, and the kids executed it well. I'm happy with how the kids played," said MA coach Tom Jobst of his twin brother's scheme that allowed 5-of-8 passing for 76 yards from Scott. "Our defense played well, too. I tell you what, that No. 87 (Miles Beckham, 4 catches, 54 yards) is a load, and No. 12 (8 catches, 194 yards, 2 TDs) is a very good receiver, too. That's a very good team we played tonight.
"But our kids played hard, I feel we played a complete game tonight, and our intensity was up a little bit, so I like where we're at right now."
Scott got the Cru off to a good start on the game's first series, lobbing a 24-yard gain to Victor Mullen on a fourth-and-7 play to set up Scott's own 3-yard TD sneak up the middle. He then added the first of his seven PAT kicks to make it 7-0 in the game's first four minutes.
Runs of 8 and 10 yards from Couch led to a 15-yard score by Aukland on the next series, and a 34-yard punt return from Nick Melvin set up the first of Reynolds' scores, a 15-yard burst.
The junior back later cashed in from 13 yards out after a big 20-yard, Scott-to-Aukland pass took MA into Sobos territory. On the final series of the half, the Crusaders getting the ball back with just 1:05 to go, Reynolds hauled in a 25-yard Scott aerial and on the next play sprinted up the middle for a 27-yard TD to run the score to 35-0.
Sobo turnovers created the two Couch scores in the third period: a Reynolds recovery of a Sobos fumble leading to a 39-yard scoring jaunt by Couch, then the interception of a Hummer pass by Jake Thomas quickly converted into a huge 72-yard pitch sweep right TD by the speedy junior — the first time MA ran that play the entire season — for a 49-0 edge.
South Beloit answered with its only scores of the game, on touchdown passes of 47 and 45 yards from Hummer to Cortez Johnson, but it was far too little and far too late against the champs from MA.
"It's always nice to win the conference, but that's just a step to where we want to be," said Tom Jobst. "We're trying to gain steam toward the end of the season and go into the playoffs strong. That's our goal.
"We know we have a tough one coming next week (at home vs. 6-1 Hiawatha, a 55-0 winner Friday over Walther Christian). Whatever happens, that's not a bad way to get ready for the postseason."
At Gould Stadium, Ottawa
Marquette 49, South Beloit 14
South Beloit (1-6, 1-3) 0 0 0 14 — 14
Marquette (7-0, 4-0) 14 21 14 0 — 49
MA — Scott 3 run (Scott kick), 8:24, 7-0.
MA — Aukland 15 run (Scott kick), 1:55, 14-0.
MA — Reynolds 15 run (Scott kick), 7:59, 21-0.
MA — Reynolds 13 run (Scott kick), 4:12, 28-0.
MA — Reynolds 27 run (Scott kick), :42.3, 35-0.
MA — Couch 39 run (Scott kick), 10:58, 42-0.
MA — Couch 72 run (Scott kick), 5:07, 49-0.
SB — Johnson 47 pass from Hummer (run failed), 6:18, 49-6.
SB — Johnson 45 pass from Hummer (pass failed), :47.5, 49-14.
First downs 9 23
Rushes-Yards 12-(-7) 39-385
Passing yards 271 76
Total offense 264 461
Comp-Att-Int. 16-33-1 5-8-0
Fumbles-Lost 4-1 4-1
Penalties-Yards 4-30 2-10
Time of possession 25:46 22:14
RUSHING: South Beloit — Southworth 5-8, Hummer 7-(-15); Marquette — Couch 8-164, Reynolds 10-96, Aukland 7-53, Melvin 3-27, Nelson 4-26, Battistelli 4-15, Olson 1-14, Scott 3-7, Flavel 2-2, Durdan 2-(-5).
PASSING (C-A-TD-INT-YD): South Beloit — Hummer 16-33-2-1-271; Marquette — Scott 5-8-0-0-76.
RECEIVING: South Beloit — Johnson 8-194, Beckham 4-54, Richards 4-23; Marquette — Mullen 1-24, Reynolds 1-23, Aukland 1-20, Melvin 1-4, Couch 1-3.