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ALTON – One of Marquette Catholic's goals for this football season was to have the opportunity to host a home IHSA Class 4A playoff game.
That opportunity comes at 7 p.m. Friday as the Explorers host the Apollo Conference's Taylorville; both teams go into the clash with 7-2 marks on the season.
“It's great that we're going to have a home game,” said Explorer coach Darrell Angleton. “We're going to be going up against a pretty solid team and it may be a really good defensive game; we're going to keep doing what we've been doing.
“We're going to have to play tough up front; we've had a good week of practice and we're pretty healthy.”
The Tornadoes feature Parker Stokes as their feature back; he's rushed for 693 yards on the year with 10 touchdown, with Evan Champley running for 454 yards and eight touchdowns on the year. Brandon Odam is the Tornado quarterback and is 56-for-99 on the year for 1,246 yards and 10 touchdowns with eight interceptions while Stokes has gone 15-for-28 passing for 185 yards and three touchdowns with a pick. Justin Wright is Taylorville's leading receiver with 26 catches for 551 yards and six touchdowns; Mike Durbin has 17 catches for 296 yards and three TDs.
The Explorers' single-wing attack features D'Avion Peebles, who has run for 793 yards on the year with 12 touchdowns (with 1,052 all-purpose yards), while Trevon Swingler is right behind with 787 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns; Jeremy Strebel has added 285 yards on the ground and scored twice while quarterback Brady McAfee has 282 yards rushing and five touchdowns. Peebles and Strebel have eight catches each on the year, while John Blachford has had seven catches for 150 yards and three touchdowns on the year.
McAfee has gone 30-for-71 passing for 343 yards and two touchdowns with seven interceptions on the year. On defense, Will Hurst leads the team with 71 tackles, with Xavior Jones adding 52 tackles and Sam Stemm 47 tackles; James Malone leads in tackles for loss with 11 while Stemm and Alex Roberts each have five sacks on the year.
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