MIDLAND - Senior right tackle Steven Elmer and the Midland High School offense steamrolled another opponent on Saturday, while linebacker Michael Alexander and the Chemics' defense made yards tough to come by for Marquette in a 42-7 victory in a Division 2 playoff opener at Midland Stadium.
The top-ranked Chemics (10-0), who have the most playoff points in Division 2, rolled up 380 yards and held the Redmen to 156 yards and six first downs in the victory before a big crowd at Midland Stadium on a sunny afternoon.
"I think the hurry-up offense did its job," said the 6-foot-6, 305-pound Elmer, who has verbally committed to Notre Dame. The Chemics played without a huddle for most of the game.
Marquette senior Alex Gagnon, left, tackles Midland’s Ryan Singer during the third quarter after a pass catch Saturday afternoon at Midland Community Stadium. (Midland Daily News photo by Nick King)
"We kept them on their heels with our quick pace. We executed and kept moving the ball."
Chemics' quarterback Alec Johnson threw for 140 yards and a touchdown and ran for 62 yards and a score, and Travis Patten ran for 136 yards and two TDs for Midland.
Marquette coach David L'Huillier gave credit to the Chemics.
Other MHSAA?playoff games involving
U.P. teams Saturday
Menominee 49, Kingsley 16
Kingsford 36, Grayling 14
"We ran into a buzzsaw," L'Huillier said. "Midland's ranked No. 1 in Division 2 for a reason.
"They've got a lot of athletes at every position. They're a great team, well coached, and they do a good job of executing.
"You have to be perfect pretty much to be able to hang with them, and we made a few mistakes early that cost us, but I'm proud of the way our kids responded."
The Chemics next host Traverse City Central, which beat Bay City Western 48-47 in double overtime on Friday night.
Aside from a 70-yard scoring drive in the third quarter, Marquette (5-4) could get little going offensively against a Chemics' team that held the Redmen's All-Great Northern Conference running back Alex Sherbinow to 77 yards on 16 carries.
"We knew they were going to try to pound it on us," Midland coach Eric Methner said. "(Sherbinow) is a heck of a player. He runs with that forward tilt.
"We knew we were going to have to get a lot of guys to him. Our defensive line played great, and our mid-level guys came up and made nice tackles and made sure the pile went backwards."
With junior linebacker Michael Alexander having recently returned from an injury, the Chemics' defense has been especially dominant.
"We all work together and do our job and execute on every single play, and go hard on every play," said Alexander, who led the Chemics with 11 tackles while safety Alex Goodwin had nine tackles and an interception return for a touchdown.
Midland forced Marquette to punt on the opening possession, then drove 85 yards and scored on Patten's 45-yard TD run when Midland faked an end-around by Will Williams going the other way. Ryan Singer kicked the first of his six extra points to make it 7-0.
Midland drove 61 yards and scored again early in the second quarter on Johnson's 25-yard TD run to make it 14-0.
A 32-yard punt return by Johnson put Midland at the Marquette 29, setting up Patten's 23-yard TD run with 7:46 left in the half to make it 21-0.
A couple of possessions later, Goodwin intercepted Brett Place and took it back 17 yards for a touchdown to make it 28-0 with 4:39 left in the half.
Marquette had only three first downs in the first half, two of them on its opening possession and the other on the final play of the half.
"Just getting first downs (was a challenge)," L'Huillier said. "We've got a lot of guys (playing) both ways, and they were trying to go hurry-up offense to run our guys around a little bit. In the second quarter, they had two fast drives that kind of got us (back) on our heels.
"Give them credit. They're a great team and I expect them to do some good things in their payoff run."
The Redmen then got on the board on a 28-yard TD pass from Place to Brett Beauchamp to make it 35-7 with 5:51 left in the third quarter.
Place, a sophomore, was 3 of 10 for 65 yards and a TD with one interception.