OTTAWA – Poor conditions fit the Ottawa Marquette football team well.
An early downpour turned the turf at Gould Field in Ottawa into a swamp. That meant the Crusaders’ big offensive line felt right at home in a 35-0 win Friday against Hiawatha.
The Crusaders’ power running game and stout offensive line piled up 317 rushing yards, 233 of which came in the second half. Hiawatha had 71 rushing yards, 52 of which came from Kyle Thompson. The Hawks quarterback, Ty Kilcullen, was 5-of-13 passing for 34 yards.
Hiawatha managed only 105 yards of total offense against a Crusaders team that has won 48 of the 50 games it has played in the Northeastern Athletic Conference, and five of the past six league titles.
“Marquette’s defense is very smart,” Hiawatha coach Jason Keneway said. “They are always in a good position to make a play.”
The Crusaders are the team to beat in the conference and are ranked No. 5 in the latest Class 1A AP Poll. Yet they only held a 7-0 halftime lead against a determined Hiawatha defense.
Senior middle linebacker Miguel Delvalle had a game-high 18 tackles.
“Our defense played awesome,” Keneway said. “They were super physical, and it was a battle all game long. Marquette earned every yard it got. Miguel brought every ounce of effort he had to the defense today. He’s going to be sore tomorrow.”
But behind fullback Preston Aukland, who scored four touchdowns and had 19 carries and 110 rushing yards, and running back Jack Snook, who led all rushers with 124 yards on 16 carries, Marquette was able to pile up points and yards in the second half.
Aukland is an unexpected star at fullback and doubled as linebacker when he helped to keep the Hawks out of the end zone. When the Crusaders shanked a punt from deep in their own territory, the Hawks had two minutes to get into the end zone.
But time ran out and Marquette (3-0, 1-0 NAC), which opened the season with a pair of wins against Class 2A schools, hasn’t allowed a score since the first possession of the third quarter in their first game.
Hiawatha (1-2) heads into a bye week. Sacred Heart will forfeit next week, and the Hawks have five games left to earn the three wins needed to become playoff-eligible, four to be automatic qualifiers.