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ALTON – Marquette Catholic’s fall sports teams were introduced to the Explorer fans and students at the preseason Blue/Gray football scrimmage at Public School Stadium Saturday evening.

The 2017 IHSA Class 1A state champion boys soccer team and football team, along with the boys and girls golf teams, girls volleyball team, girls tennis and field hockey teams were introduced prior to the scrimmage, which attracted a large crowd of Explorer students and supporters.

“It did (go well for the Explorer footballers with their scrimmage),” said Marquette football coach Darrell Angleton. “One of the things we do is that some other teams will put their – some other teams will put their first-team offense out there and their first-team defense and always have a scout (team); what we do to make it a little more interesting is that we mix them (the teams) up.

“It’s good for the young guys – they get yelled at a little bit more because they don’t know as much as the upperclassmen when it comes to execution, but it’s a great experience for them and the upperclassmen get a challenge because we make sure they’re going up against upperclassmen. It works out well.”

With Marquette being a smaller school, the numbers for football aren’t always there as compared with a larger school to have two teams (offense and defense). “When I was at Roxana, nobody went both ways; it’s different nowadays, but it’s good” Angleton said. “We’ve got some of our technical things to work out with our communications and our huddle and sidelines, so we got that ironed out today too.

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“The boys are close to ready; we’ve got a week to get ready for CM (Marquette’s opening game against backyard rival Civic Memorial at 7 p.m. Friday in Bethalto). Those hometown rivalry games are always a lot of fun.”

Last year’s state boys soccer champions will have a big challenge ahead of them this season; IHSA success rules have moved the Explorers to Class 2A this season. “I think the boys are excited for the challenge of 2A,” said Explorer coach Joe Burchett. “It’ll be a little different at the end of the season, but we return almost all the whole team and we’ve had some wonderful practices throughout the summer. Last week, we added a terrific senior when Stephen Hasse joined us – he’ll make an impact for us. That’s a positive thing.

“The numbers were good, there were more than 40 (players) we looked at over the summer; that gives us two strong squads again. I think we toughened up the schedule a little bit – that’s a plus for us as well.”

The boys soccer Explorers open their season at Gordon Moore Park against Triad at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday; they’ll be facing teams like Belleville Althoff Catholic, Granite City, Edwardsville, Collinsville and Columbia over the course of the season. “Everything seems to be going in the right direction, but we’ve got to play some games,” Burchett said. “The boys are confident and feeling good and know we’ve got a good squad returning; they know there are some talented players on our squad – that’ll boost everybody.

“There’s confidence when our captains, Chris (Hartrich), Kwame (Ngwa) and Nick (Hemann) are feeling good and playing good, everybody is better and it’s going to spread.”

The boys and girls golf teams have already began started their seasons, while the girls' volleyball team opens with the Roxana Tournament Monday evening and girls tennis opens at Roxana at 4 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Lewis and Clark Community College Simpson Tennis Center. The cross-country teams take on Metro East Lutheran at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at SIU-Edwardsville’s Mud Mountain course.

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