OTTAWA — Marquette Academy football coach Tom Jobst wanted to make sure his team came out on top in Friday night's clash for the Northeastern Athletic Conference championship with Kirkland Hiawatha ... and if he could give potential playoff foes scouting his Crusaders at Gould Stadium a little something different to be wary of down the line in doing that, all the better.
Junior quarterback Logan Komater, who's had games with zero, two and three passing attempts this season with three highs for the season coming last week at 7-of-11 for 117 yards against West Hancock, connected on 8-of-10 throws for 189 yards and three touchdowns against the Hawks — 123 of those yards and two of the TDs to classmate Gareth Kent — leading the Cru to another error-prone but successful decision, 41-13, over the visitors.
Komater connected with Kent for 40 yards and the first score of the night, then later linked up with him for a 46 yarder and then a 37-yard touchdown in the third period. Senior fullback Zach Dyche battled his way to 91 yards on 16 carries as MA (7-2, 5-0 in the NAC) managed just 202 yards on 43 rush attempts, but still finished with 386 yards of total offense thanks to the big day in the passing game.
The victory gives the Cru that automatic conference champ berth in the Class 1A playoffs, which will be announced later this evening. The defeat may have delivered a death blow to Hiawatha's hopes for the program's first back-to-back postseason trips, at 5-4 and likely needing a plethora of playoff points to get in.
But the emergence of the MA passing game will make whoever the Crusaders draw think twice.
"I'm not sure how many yards Logan had, but he had a pretty good night, and so did Gareth," said Jobst, his club now NAC champs for the fifth time in its six years in the league. "We like to run the ball and we ran the ball pretty well tonight, but we will throw the ball, too. Whoever we play from now on are just going to have to respect both phases of the game. Teams will do what they want to try to take away what they think makes us tick. We'll have to wait and see what they think that is.
"Every time we had to, we did what we had to, and I'm happy with the way our guys competed tonight. They're playing hard, but we have to keep playing hard and smart. That's all there is to it."
It looked initially like the contest would be a replay of MA's 55-0 win at Kirkland last year, with the first Komater-to-Kent TD and a one-yard run by Zach Dyche making it 14-0 in the opening period.
But then the penalties that hurt the Cru so badly in last week's 14-13 loss to West Hancock took a brief toll again. Two penalties, the second negating a Komater pass to Max Donahue for a first down at the Hiawatha 15, forced a punt.
A pass interference call against MA helped the Hawks to a six-yard TD run by Kyle Thompson on the next series, but the Cru bounced back. A three-yard Dyche score widened the gap and, after a Max Donahue strip and Keegan Jaros recovery, the 37-yard Kent-from-Komater hook-up with just 35,1 seconds left in the half made it 28-7.
Another flagging cost Komater a 24-yard TD run in the third, but three plays later hit Jack Snook for a 19-yard touchdown. Dyche added a 12-yard scoring burst early in the fourth period to wrap up the Cru's day.
Ty Kilcullen tossed an 11-yard TD to Alex Barber in the final three minutes, but his 12-of-25 passing for 137 yards on the night was not enough to overcome the Crusaders' holding the guests to just 62 rush yards on 35 carries as a team.
"Hiawatha's a good team," said Jobst. "They run well, they throw well, the receivers are great, they go up and get the ball. We were just able to take advantage of a few things that were given to us."
"I'm really proud of my team," said Hiawatha coach Jason Keneway. "They played their tails off tonight against a super physical team that's going to make a serious run in the playoffs.
"We rose to the occasion, for sure, but mistakes ended up killing us ... Marquette's lineman, though, are just massive, and their linebackers are downhill players that are tough to run against. It's tough, but that's no excuse. Marquette's got size, speed, depth and a good plan besides that. They're just a heck of a team."
At Gould Stadium, Ottawa
Marquette 41, Hiawatha 13
Hiawatha (5-4, 4-1) 0 7 0 6 — 13
Marquette (7-2, 5-0) 14 14 6 7 — 41
MA — Kent 40 pass from Komater (Green kick), 9:58, 7-0.
MA — Dyche 1 run Green kick), 5:59, 14-0.
KH — Thompson 6 run (Snow kick), 3:40, 14-7.
MA — Dyche 3 run (kick failed), 1:11, 20-0.
MA — Kent 37 pass from Komater (Green from Komater), :35.1, 28-7.
MA — Snook 19 pass from Komater (kick failed), 7:32, 34-7.
MA — Dyche 12 run (Green kick), 11:17, 41-7.
KH — Barber 11 pass from Kilcullen (kick failed), 2:49, 41-13.
First downs 16 19
Rushes-Yards 35-62 43-202
Passing yards 137 189
Total offense 199 391
Comp-Att-Int. 12-25-1 8-1-0
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 2-0
Penalties-Yards 1-10 8-65
Time of possession 25:45 22:15
RUSHING: Hiawatha — Barber 22-54, Thompson 7-37, Kilcullen 6-(-29). Marquette — Dyche 16-91, M. Donahue 10-48, Green 7-25, Snook 2-11, Komater 3-10, Killelea 1-6, Aukland 1-1, Galletti 1-(-1).
PASSING (C-A-TD-INT-YD): Hiawatha — Kilcullen 12-25-1-1-137. Marquette — Komater 8-10-3-0-189, Galletti 0-1-0-0-0.
RECEIVING: Hiawatha — Thompson 3-43, Edwards 4-35, O'Hern 2-20, Barber 1-19, Barrett 1-9. Marquette — Kent 3-123, Snook 2-39, Green 2-21, Dougherty 1-6.