ROCHESTER – A five-touchdown day by Rochester's Kenny Hedges helped the Rockets eliminate Marquette Catholic 52-7 in a first-round IHSA Class 4A Football Championship game Saturday afternoon in Rochester.

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“We knew that it would be a difficult draw,” said Explorer coach Darrell Angleton, “but I was pleased with our effort. We went hard all day long and I'm proud of all of our kids.”

Marquette standout D'Avion Peebles went out of the game with an injury in the first quarter and did not return, forcing Angleton to shift players around to cover Peebles' absence. “Rochester has a great tradition in football and they had something like 90 players available,” Angleton said. “They can just plug someone else in if a player gets hurt; we had to move kids around when D'Avion was hurt.

“But all of our kids played hard and understood what they were facing. The kids knew it wasn't going to be easy going in.”

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Marquette executed an onside kick to open the game and recovered it to take first possession, but that and a Jesse Simmons 71-yard kickoff return for touchdown were the only highlights on the day for the Explorers, who were eliminated at 6-4; the Rockets went to 9-1 on the season.

Angleton is optimistic for his team's future. “We had five seniors this year,” Angleton said, “and they helped set an example for our younger kids. Next year, we'll have a good number of juniors who will be seniors and sophomores who will be juniors. We'll have experience coming back and we're all really looking forward to next season already.”

IHSA CLASS 1A FIRST ROUND

ARCOLA 57, HARDIN-CALHOUN 16: Arcola stormed out to a 57-0 halftime lead and went on to eliminate Hardin-Calhoun 57-16 in Arcola Saturday afternoon.

Blake Booth had 15 carries for 103 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the second half for the Warriors, who were eliminated at 5-5.

The Purple Riders will take on Salt Fork in a second-round game this weekend.

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