If the Marion Wildcats were intimidated at all by Althoff’s perfect record or hold on the South Seven Conference, they didn’t show it.
They sacked the Crusader quarterback five times, intercepted him once, picked up at fumble and found the end zone three times. But like Althoff’s five previous opponents, the Wildcats couldn’t keep tabs on the Crusaders’ wealth of weapons.
Four players scored touchdowns in a 44-20 Althoff win at Lindenwood University-Belleville Friday.
“There are always things you can work on, but what I really like about this game is that so many guys contributed,” said Althoff coach Ken Turner. “Look up and down the stats and you’ll see one guy after another who had a good game.”
Senior quarterback Trey Mosley completed 16-of-24 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns and found six different receivers along the way. And those sacks? He takes personal responsibility for them.
“That wasn’t because of my line,” he said. “I’ve got to get better at not holding onto the ball so long, but I feel like I want a touchdown on every play.”
The Crusaders improve to 6-0 with the win. Marion falls to 2-4 despite a determined effort that kept them within two scores until the last play of the third quarter. The Wildcats will have to be perfect throughout their remaining schedule to make the playoffs.
“We got down two touchdowns and it looked bad early, but I loved the character of the kids to stay in there and keep fighting,” said Marion coach Kerry Martin. “They put us in a situation where late in the third quarter we still felt like we had a chance to win the ball game.”
Althoff took a 21-7 with 18 seconds left in the half on a nine-yard pass from Mosley to C.J. Coldon. But Marion stuffed Althoff on its first possession of the second half then got within a score when quarterback Jake Schmid found Xavier Cambric with a nine-yard touchdown pass.
On the first play after the ensuing kickoff, Crusader senior running back Jaylon Bester broke off an 80-yard touchdown run to take back any lost momentum.
“That was the big play in my mind because they had just scored,” Mosley said. “Getting those points back right away really hurt them.”
A 35-yard pass from Mosley to Jordan Goodwin on the last play of the third quarter made it 35-13.
Althoff got a safety when a high snap to the Marion punter rolled through the Wildcats’ end zone, then put the game away with Mosley’s third touchdown pass of the game found Edwyn Brown from 19 yards out.
Bester finished with 201 yards on 16 carries and a pair of touchdowns. Coldon had six catches for 44 yards and two scores. Goodwin had four catches for 89 yards and a touchdown and Brown finished with four catches for 43 yards and a score.
For Marion, Schmid completed 6-of-13 for 140 yards and two touchdowns, including a 71-yard strike to Hunter Milligin. Cambric was held to 16 yards on 10 carries and two catches for 25 yards. Malcom Berry scored on a 77-yard run.