Football: Marmion seeks redemption after injury-plagued 2011 campaign
By Rick Armstrongfirstname.lastname@example.org August 16, 2012 7:10PM
Marmion senior Jake Ruddy will start at running back and defensive back this season. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 16, 2012 7:11PM
Crunch time may have come a bit early for Dan Thorpe.
The Marmion Academy football coach probably figured it would be during a Murderer’s Row four-week stretch of the season beginning with a Sept. 14 home date vs. Marian Central — 11-1 last year — that will be followed by state champions Montini (Class 5A) and Aurora Christian (3A), then capped by St. Francis, which also had a strong playoff run in 2011.
Or maybe in the season opener against a Class 7A Jacobs playoff team that led 6A state champ Prairie Ridge 14-0 before falling in league play. Prairie Ridge, of course, ended Marmion’s disappointing 2011 season with a 49-0 first-round playoff loss.
But the Cadets took a hit when senior linebacker Matt Lally, described by Thorpe as a “hitter who has great instincts for the ball,” broke his leg in three places this week in two-a-days and will be out for the season. Last year, Lally played two games before a broken bone in his foot was diagnosed, ending his year.
Also sidelined, at least in the early going, will be FB/LB Cody Snodgrass (mononucleosis).
“We’re down two linebackers,” Thorpe said matter of factly, but he is encouraged by the work of juniors Mike Montalbano, Sam Breen and Josh Meyers at the position.
Combined with his other talent, the coach remains optimistic the Cadets can bounce back from a 5-5 injury-plagued season after reaching the state title game in 2010.
“We’ve had some really physical practices and this will carry over into the season,” said Thorpe. “These seniors were co-champs of conference as sophomores … We have excellent attitude and were all embarrassed about last year’s record.”
Marmion may have only 39 on the roster but Thorpe’s staff hopes to have two separate platoons on the offensive and defensive lines so none of the big men have to play both ways.
The offensive line is likely to include seniors Matt Smith, Kevin Lin, Patrick Bakala and Peter Shares along with junior Zach Siwiec, while the defensive group will feature tackle Michael Hughes and end Charlie Clohecy along with others — including Ricardo Fernandez, Alex Fritz, Paul Gunderson and Stanley Sullivan.
Thorpe also has a pair of quarterbacks in senior Charlie Faunce and junior Brock Krueger he hopes will be interchangeable and a run game headed up by improved Jake Ruddy, who will also start in the secondary.
“The athletic light went on during track for Jake and it showed when he made state (in the long jump). He’s been more focused and working harder. He can run, catch and turn a game around. He’s very explosive,” said Thorpe.
The 6-foot-1, 190 Faunce took all the snaps last year and “has a good command of the offense,” said the coach. “It’s amazing what a returning QB can do. And Brock (Krueger, who is 6-2, 190) is gonna play. We’re not gonna do one QB, Brock’s gonna play every game. You might see us send in plays with the quarterback instead of a wide receiver. Doesn’t that make more sense?”
If it works.