O'FALLON — A relative unknown when the 2013 season began seven weeks ago, Edwardsville junior quarterback Dan Marinko is now in a class by himself.
Continuing to carve up Southwestern Conference secondaries, Marinko threw for 453 yards and four touchdowns as the undefeated Tigers moved closer to the conference title on Friday with a 42-14 win over O'Fallon.
Ranked third in the Class 7A poll, Edwardsville (7-0, 5-0) broke open a close game behind a pair of Marinko scoring passes in a six-minute span in the third quarter.
The win keeps Edwardsville a game up on Belleville West in the SWC race with two weeks remaining. The Tigers have Granite City and Belleville East remaining on their schedule.
"We set the Southwestern Conference championship as one of our goals when the season started. We've still got two weeks left,'' Edwardsville coach Matt Martin said. "Dan (Marinko) continues to impress me with his toughness. They (O'Fallon) kept knocking him down and he got up and continued to make plays.''
Unofficially, Marinko finished the game 23 for 39 for his 453 yards. The four touchdown passes give Marinko 22 for the season, breaking the mark of 19 set by former Tiger and University of Missouri player Jim Dougherty.
Marinko now also owns the Edwardsville school record for most passing yards in a season with more than 1,900.
"To be honest, I didn't know what the records were. It's a great honor. Edwardsville football is all about tradition. There have been a lot of great players here,'' Marinko said. "I have a great offensive line and the wide receivers are all just outstanding players.
"Coach Martin is always telling those guys to run their routes hard in practice and it will pay off in games. They are getting better every week.''
Marinko fired TD passes of 33 and 14 yards to Darius Crochrell and a 14-yard pass to Isaiah Michl. But it was an 86-yard scoring pass to Fontez Davis midway through the third quarter which was the big play of the game.
O'Fallon (4-3, 3-2) trailed 21-7 late in the second quarter when sophomore quarterback Camden Bauer hooked up with Klayton Gettis on a 33-yard scoring play with 1:38 left to bring the Panthers back to within a touchdown.
With the momentum, O'Fallon stopped the Tigers on their first third-quarter possession. With Gettis and Bauer alternating plays at quarterback, the Panthers marched inside the Tigers 15.
Running the wildcat offense, Gettis fumbled on a second-down play and Edwardsville recovered. On the next play, Marinko found David on the left side of the field.
After making the catch, Davis eluded a Panthers defender and outran the rest of the O'Fallon secondary to the end zone.
Just 12 yards from a tying score, O'Fallon suddenly found itself down 28-14 in a span of less than 20 seconds.
"We had the momentum. We were moving the ball well and it looked like we might tie the game. Klayton (Gettis) just lost control of the football on the play,'' O'Fallon coach Brandon Joggerst said. "The next play, they hit a big play and we're down 28-14.
"We had a chance. We've just got to finish drives better.''
Edwardsville senior defensive back Brian Crowe then made the second of his three interceptions in game to end the Panthers' next possession.
Marinko connected with Crochrell a short time later on a 14-yard scoring play and it was 35-14.