Edwardsville downs Bradley-Bourbonnais to reach Class 7A quarters

Special to the News-DemocratNovember 9, 2013 

— Much was made of how Edwardsville might react to its lengthy five-hour bus ride to Bradley-Bourbonnais for its second round Class 7A playoff matchup.

But Tigers coach Matt Martin was having none of that talk heading up to the contest and refused to acknowledge the road trip would have any effect on his team's execution.

And if Saturday's effort by the Tigers indicated a typical reaction to a five-hour road trek, maybe Edwardsville should take more of them as they manhandled Bradley-Bourbonnais at every turn on its way to a 42-0 victory.

The win lifts Edwardsville (11-0) into next weekend's quarterfinals, where it will host (Frankfort) Lincoln-Way East (9-2). Game time and date has not yet been determined for that contest.

It took just 71 seconds for the Tigers to establish a foothold.

On a windy day that made Edwardsville's vaunted passing game a little more risky, the Tigers went to the ground and ate up huge chunks of yards culminating their first drive with a 2-yard touchdown run from quarterback Dan Marinko.

The stunned Boilermakers managed to stave off any more serious advances from the Tigers for the remainder of the first quarter, but Marinko and company went right back to the ground to eat up yards in bunches to start the second frame.

D'Anthony Knight did much of the heavy lifting on that drive and got the reward with a 2-yard touchdown run at the 10:30 mark of the second quarter.

After another short and unproductive Bradley drive, Marinko's 33-yard scamper set up a 1-yard plunge from Elijah Crockett that stretched Edwardsville's lead to 21-0.

"We are doing the things that are allowing us to be productive in the run game," Edwardsville coach Matt Martin said. "We were able to run the ball, and why not?"

Bradley coughed up the football on its next possession, and Edwardsville needed just two plays to hit paydirt again as Crockett's 26-yard run set up a 7-yard smash through the Boilermaker defensive line for Knight's second score of the game.

The Boilermakers entered the contest expecting to have the most trouble reigning in Marinko and Edwardsville's aerial attack.

In reality, they needed to be more concerned with the running talents of Marinko and Crockett. The tandem rushed for nearly 200 yards as a pair in the first half.

Marinko added his second touchdown running with just 39 seconds remaining in the first half, and allowed Edwardsville to hit halftime with a cushy 35-0 lead.

"People kind of label as a passing team, but it is a great compliment to our team our offensive line is just great. We pass the ball a little bit more because we have a great group of receivers, but the offensive line does a great job and they did it tonight. All the credit really goes to them," Marinko said.

Marinko also was throwing darts when given the opportunity to throw. But probably one the poorer throws of his day netted Edwardsville a touchdown when Darius Crochrell's spectacular catch-and-run from 39 yards set the running clock in motion. Marinko finished with 181 yards passing and 91 yards rushing.

Somewhat lost in the offensive pyrotechnic show of the offense was a staunch effort by the Tigers defense.

Edwardsville limited Bradley's leading rusher, Jarrod Ware, to just five yards on eight carries. Bradley had just 114 yards of total offense in the game, most of which came on two quarterback scrambles late in the contest.

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