Ottawa Township High School and Ottawa Marquette Academy may be long-time rivals, but fans on both sides can agree on one thing — it’s been a great football season this year.
For the first time ever, both the Ottawa Pirates and Marquette Crusaders football teams finished undefeated. The farthest into the season both schools were undefeated at the same time previously was at 2-0 in 1970.
The Pirates posted their first 9-0 campaign since 1995, including a 5-0 mark as Big Northern 12 Conference West champions.
Crosstown Marquette made a successful grand debut in the Northeastern Athletic Conference, running the table in nine league games after leaving behind the Big Rivers, where it went just 2-7 a year ago. It is just the third undefeated season for Marquette in school history, going 9-0 in 1983 and 7-0-1 in 1954.
There was a citywide pep rally Wednesday for both of the undefeated teams. Some lightpoles in town are decked in red and black and others are covered in blue and gold. Several businesses are showing support for both schools on their marquees.
• Criss-crossed: The news is not as good for the Marquette cross country program. According to the Ottawa Times, Marquette cross country coach Dr. Dan Cheatham has been suspended by the Illinois High School Association for the remainder of this season for “rules infractions” uncovered in a joint investigation by Marquette and the IHSA. In addition, Cheatham and the Crusaders program will be on probation for one year.
The Marquette boys team won its sixth straight regional title at St. Bede Saturday but will be able to compete at the Oregon Sectional, according to the Times.
• Makransky on track at L-P: Former Princeton assistant coach Marty Makransky has been named as the new varsity boys track coach at LaSalle-Peru High School. He said he’s excited to become a head coach and is looking forward to the “run for the cake” against Princeton’s weight men.
“I’m really going to miss Dan (PHS coach Foes) and the kids,” said Makransky, who was an assistant at Princeton for nine years and former part-time business teacher.
Also hired at last week’s L-P School Board meeting was Matt Glupczynski as the L-P varsity boys coach, replacing long-time coach Bill Booker, who was let go last spring.
• 50 and counting: The mighty Geneseo Maple Leafs may have sneaked into the playoffs, defeating LaSalle-Peru 28-0 in last week’s regular season finale to finish 5-4, but they added to its program’s legacy. The win clinched the proud Geneseo program’s 50th straight winning regular season.
The last time the Leafs failed to be on the winning side of things was in 1962 when the Quad Cities Times noted, gasoline was just 28 cents a gallon; JFK was our nation’s 35th president; and a group called the Beatles recorded their first song titled, “Love Me Do.”
Leafs fans have been loving their football team ever since. Of course, winning four state championship with five runner-up finishes cements the love affair.
Sixth-seeded Geneseo will play at third-seeded Sandwich (6-3) at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Correction: St. Bede senior golfer Barbi Prokup averaged 46.1 this season, not 48.6 as indicated in Tuesday’s BCR. The BCR regrets the error.
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