Lafayette, Marquette square off in Class 6 district semifinal football game
By: Warren Mayes
There’s little need to hype a football game between Lafayette and Marquette. The two rivals always produce a spirited game when they take the field.
Add in Friday’s (Nov. 2) game at Lafayette being a Class 6 District 1 semifinal game only adds to the excitement. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Lafayette, the No. 3-ranked team in the state in Class 6, is 10-0. Marquette is 5-5.
Those records are meaningless now, said Lafayette coach Boyd Manne.
“Marquette is an excellent team,” Manne said. “Marquette has an outstanding defense, offense, and special teams. Our team is excited about the opportunity to play football on Friday night.”
Top-seeded Lafayette opened postseason play last week with a convincing 45-0 win over Northwest.
Fourth-seeded Marquette got past Oakville 16-14 in its first playoff game.
Mustangs coach Ryan Thornhill is happy with how his squad is looking right now.
“The last two weeks of practice have been very good for us,” Thornhill said. “The kids are playing with confidence and discipline. We have a few kids that will not be able to play Friday night.”
Marquette lost four of five games late in regular season but the Mustangs rebounded to get by Northwest in regular season. They followed that up with the win over Oakville in first round last week.
“The win last week was especially good for our confidence,” Thornhill said. “We know as long as we don’t get in our own way we can be a pretty good team. Oakville is a very solid team and any win in the playoffs is great.”
Thornhill credited his Mustangs for playing with “emotion and the lack of mistakes.” Marquette trailed 14-3 at halftime.
“In the first half we turned the ball over three times,” Thornhill said. “We don’t have the turnovers in the second half and we were able to fight back and get the win.”
For their effort, Marquette is rewarded with another game against Lafayette. The Lancers are an offensive powerhouse. Lafayette is averaging 44.5 points a game.
In their Suburban West Conference game earlier this fall, Lafayette scored a 46-7 victory.
“Lafayette scored with about 50 seconds left in the half to go up 14-7,” Thornhill said about the game. “During halftime, our quarterback had to be taking to the hospital. We were a different team without Austin (Powers) in the second half. I didn’t feel that we played with the same kind of emotion once Austin went down, and when Lafayette is as good as they are and you don’t play the entire game with emotion, you don’t give yourself much of a chance.”
Thornhill certainly respects what the Lancers have accomplished this season.
“They are an excellent team, deserving of their conference championship and state ranking,” Thornhill said. “They have very good athletes at every position. It is probably the best Lafayette team that I have seen since I have been head coach at Marquette.”
Lafayette is strong on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, senior quarterback Matt Goro has thrown for 1,197 yards and 16 touchdowns against only five interceptions. has completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,197 yards, with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions. Senior running back Robinson leads the team in rushing with 709 yards. He also has 249 yards receiving. Robinson has scored a team-high 15 touchdowns. Senior tight end John Voit leads the Lancers in receiving yards with 445 on 22 receptions.
The Lancers have a solid kicking threat as well in senior Dan Menees, who has booted eight field goals.
Voit, who also plays defensive end, leads the team has recorded six sacks. Senior linebacker Joshua Ripp leads the unit with 92 tackles. Senior defensive back Elliott Montgomery leads the squad with four interceptions.
Powers has thrown for 949 yards for the Mustangs on 89 of 151 passing. He has seven touchdowns and 13 interceptions. George Martin leads the ground game with 572 yards. Chad Nieder has 21 catches for 273 yards.
Defensively, Matt Bruer leads Marquette with 98 tackles and eight sacks.
The Mustangs “must play with tremendous emotion and limit our mistakes,” Thornhill said against Lafayette.
Marquette knows the task ahead of it. They are looking forward to the opportunity and challenge. According to Thornhill, that’s a no-brainer.
“Who wouldn’t be?” Thornhill asked. “We get to play one of the best teams in state with a chance to advance in the Missouri state playoffs. Our players are up for the challenge and can’t wait to get on the field Friday night.”