EAST ST. LOUIS — To pass or not too pass.
On a hot, steamy Saturday afternoon at Clyde C. Jordan Stadium, the Soldan Tigers had no answers against Edwardsville quarterback Dan Marinko.
Marinko threw five touchdown passes -- four in the first half -- as Edwardsville romped to an easy 49-6 win at the Fourth Annual City of Champions Foundation Football Classic.
Ranked fifth in the Class 7A state poll, Edwardsville (2-0) scored 35 unanswered points over the final 14 minutes, 24 seconds of the first half and led 42-6 at halftime.
Marinko, who finished 9-of-13 for 187 yards, then added a final exclamation point when he fired a 24-yard scoring strike to Darius Crochrell on the Edwardsville's first possession of the second half.
On cue, Marinko gave credit to his teammates.
"The credit goes offensive line and my wide receivers,'' Marinko said. "The line gave me time to find my receivers and those guys just did a great job of getting open.
"We have a lot of guys who can catch the football and I have confidence in each and every one of them.''
The impressive win is the second in a row for Edwardsville, which defeated Hazelwood West 42-0 in its season opener.
Edwardsville will open its 2013 Southwestern Conference season Friday, when it hosts East St. Louis.
"It's going to get a lot tougher next week,'' Marinko said. "I'm looking forward to playing them (East St. Louis)."
Edwardsville started quickly when Tommy Maxwell returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown in the opening 2:07 of the game.
But leading 7-6 following an 8-yard run from Soldan quarterback Tre'Von Billington, Marinko and Edwardsville went to work.
Despite two turnovers, Edwardsville scored on four of its last six possessions in the first half.
"Aside from the two turnovers, which we're going to need to clean up, I thought we played well. We moved the football, the defense gave up the one big play, but did a good job and we were able to finish drives,'' Edwardsville coach Matt Martin said. "Dan (Marinko) played well and we're going to have to be able do to that (pass) when defenses play us like Soldan did today.
"Give Soldan credit. Those kids played hard and they've obviously got some good players."
As does Edwardsville, which displayed many of them in the final 14 minutes of the half.
Marinko marched Edwardsville 65 yards on seven plays to close the first quarter and when he found junior Isaiah Michl open in corner of the end zone from 30-yards out, Edwardsville was up 14-6.
Edwardsville scored 28 points in a span of 8:46 in the second period, as Marinko fired scoring passes of 30 yards to Darius Crochrell, 19 yards to Michl and a 15-yard strike to Brian Crowe.
Freshman lineman A.J. Epenesa also got into the act when he fell on a fumble in the end zone following a poor snap on a punt attempt.
Crochrell then scored the final Edwardsville touchdown when he collected a 24-yard strike from Marinko to start the third quarter.
Marinko, who was 7-of-11 for 147 yards and four touchdowns in the first half, also got some help from his friends on special teams, which scored twice.