Panthers fall to Marquette 38-16 in disappointing loss; will meet Flyers Friday night

By STEPHEN GLOVER

As the final minutes ticked off the clock Friday night at Mehlville Senior High School, it marked the seventh straight loss this season for the Panthers as they fell 38-16 to Marquette.

“It was a huge disappointment,” Mehlville head coach Eric Meyer said. “We went into the half down 17-0 and they (Marquette) shut us down on our first possession in the second half. And then we made several turnovers. We just didn’t do as well as we would have liked to.”

Marquette (2-5, 2-3 Suburban West) took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on a 35-yard field goal by Eric Moyer, but the Panthers tied the game at 3-3 midway through the quarter on a 20-yard field goal by Brandon Zufall.

“Brandon’s a sophomore that’s done pretty well for us this year,” Meyer said. “From about 30 to 35 yards out, we feel pretty comfortable with Brandon’s abilities.”

The Mustangs retook the lead late in the first quarter when Brandon Schaefer scored on a 35-yard run. Schaefer carried the ball 18 times for 197 yards.

Marquette extended its lead to 17-3 in the second quarter when Dante McKinney scored on a 20-yard run. McKinney racked up 93 yards rushing.

The Panthers trimmed Marquette’s lead to 17-10 when quarterback Zach Hayes hit Mike Sulya for a 22-yard pass to finish the first half. Hayes completed 4 of 13 passes for 67 yards and one touchdown.

“Zach competes for us on every play and that was a nice play for us with Mike coming across the field,” Meyer said. “I thought that Zach had some really nice drives Friday night.”

Marquette racked up two touchdown runs in the third quarter when Sean Ullrich scored on a 30-yard run and a two-yard run.

Ullrich carried the ball nine times for 74 yards against the Panther defense.

Schaefer scored again in the fourth quarter on a one-yard run, but Mehlville had the final touchdown of the game when Demond Harris grinded in a seven-yard run.

“Demond played both sides of the ball and is one of our senior leaders on this team,” Meyer said. “We’re trying to give him the ball as much as we can and he’s doing a good job for us.”

The Panthers return to action at 7 p.m. Friday when they travel to Lindbergh for the first round of the Class 6, District 2 playoffs. The Flyers (7-0, 5-0 Suburban West Conference) beat Parkway South 13-0 last Friday to win their first conference title since 2003.

“Even though you carry your record into the game, you need just two wins to get into the playoffs,” Meyer said. “This is a fresh start to the year and I keep reminding our kids about what Oakville was able to do last year in districts.”