St. Ignatius ousts Marmion from Prep Bowl Playoffs

Marmion's first foray into the Chicago Catholic League football playoffs didn't exactly go as planned Friday night.

Running its triple-option offense to near perfection, St. Ignatius (9-3) scored touchdowns on its first 5 possessions while building a 35-0 halftime advantage.

Although the Cadets (6-6) continued battling and actually won the second half, 12-7, they dug themselves too deep of a hole during their 42-12 loss in the Prep Bowl Playoffs quarterfinals at Mooseheart.

Wolfpack senior quarterback Quinn Donath (16 carries, 209 yards) scored 4 of his 5 touchdowns in the first half, including a 46-yard run on their opening possession nearly 4 minutes into the contest to make it 7-0.

After forcing the Cadets to a 3-and-out series, St. Ignatius marched 64 yards in 8 plays for its second TD - a 4-yard run by Donath.

The Wolfpack turned Blaise Malisch's fumble recovery into Giorgio Arquilla's 17-yard TD run early in the second quarter to extend the lead to 21-0 before Donath wove his way through the Cadets' defense for a 43-yard TD run and added a 1-yard TD keeper with 1:39 remaining before halftime.

"They're so quick off the ball," said Marmion coach Dan Thorpe. "We saw that offensively they really get off the ball and they're in rhythm now. Defensively, when you only see it (triple option) over the course of three or four days (in practice), it's tough."

Malisch and junior lineman Zach Allen led a relentless Wolfpack defensive unit that limited the Cadets to just 70 yards of offense in the first half.

"Defensively, we knew they were very quick but they were even quicker than we anticipated," said Thorpe. "We went max protection but they smelled blood and they were coming. I wish I had an answer to all of that pressure."

After Donath's 10-yard TD run capped a 4-play, 72-yard drive on the opening series of the second half to make it 42-0, the remainder of the game was played with a running clock.

Marmion got on the board midway through the third quarter when senior quarterback Brandon McPherson (8 of 19, 171 yards) connected with senior receiver Zach Urwiler on a 47-yard TD pass.

McPherson added a 24-yard TD toss to Ben Schwartz in the fourth quarter for the Cadets.

"There's nothing like high school football," said Urwiler, 1 of 19 seniors playing in their prep finale. "We showed heart all season long. We had comebacks late in games and beat teams we never should have beaten.

"I'm proud of this team. It was a great season."

Thorpe echoed Urwiler's sentiments.

"The seniors - they played with such confidence," said Thorpe. "We were down many times throughout the year by two or three touchdowns and we came back to either win or make the game close."

Thorpe was thankful for his team's Chicago Catholic League playoff debut.

"This is the first time that we were eligible - we weren't invited last year," said Thorpe. "Our goal is going to be to play Thanksgiving weekend every year now, either in the Prep Bowl or the state playoffs."

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