ALTON – The Marquette Explorers football season is officially underway! Last year, Public School Stadium saw Marquette games played but missed the noise and excitement from the Blue and Gold’s fans. With the stadium being nearly as old as COVID-19, it sees its first pre-pandemic schedule and fans allowed in the stadium. At the annual Fall athletics kick-off, the team, their fans, and the all-important student section were firing on all cylinders with palpable energy during the 30-minute scrimmage.

Likely every student who attended the rally is battling a scratchy throat from cheering on their Explorers with such enthusiasm this past Saturday night. The stands full of friends, family, and energized fans were something that Marquette’s head coach, Leon McElrath III, noticed and appreciated. “It’s a sight for sore eyes, man. One of my seniors, he got emotional with me and said ‘I miss this’. It’s awesome to see the fans come out and have the Marquette Family cheer us on as we get ready to go into battle.”

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Due to forecasted storms, the Public School stadium seemed to be ready for another quiet Saturday. However, with the help of the Midwest weather, the only water on the ground was sweat from the players. When asking McElrath III about how his team prepared for potential bad weather, “It’s iron man football. We suck it up. We like to tell them, ‘W’s don’t hurt as bad. If you come out on top, you’ll be alright.’” With statements like that, it’s obvious that Marquette will be a tough team to play against.

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What kind of identity can other football teams expect when they play the tough Marquette football team? “Ground and pound. Run the ball and play-action fake,” said the head coach. Their ground and pound identity begins with the improved area of leadership for the Blue and Gold football team. “I’m growing myself as a coach and the kids are growing with me as players. They are starting to understand what Coach Mac expects. Our strength and conditioning coach, Glen Norwood, does a great job in the weight room and helping the kids understand what is expected.

Wood River might be Marquette’s oldest foe, but Coach Mac is excited to compete for a chance to win every game against any team they play this season. “We want to beat everybody just as bad as everybody wants to be us. We look at each game we play as its own challenge and as its own rivalry. The Explorers are looking forward to taking on any and all competitors.”

Marquette Explorers' 2021 football season is ramping up and shaping out to be a fun and intense season. In McElrath’s closing remarks, “We thank you to everyone for coming out and supporting us. We look forward to our Blue and Gold fans cheering us on as we take on each team week in and week out.”

Marquette’s first game of the season will be Friday, August 27,, as they take on Civic Memorial on their home field! To find the rest of the season schedule and more information about Explorer football, please visit for more details.

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