From staff reports
MARQUETTE — Traverse City Central spotted Marquette a 21-0 lead at half, and that proved too much to overcome Friday night.
Quarterback Brett Place completed 11 of 18 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns as the host Redmen beat Central 31-23 in a season-opening contest here.
“We didn’t play well early and a lot of the credit goes to them,” Central coach Tom Passinault said. “We rebounded, but it was too little, too late.
“This is a reminder that we have to play 48 minutes. We’re proud of the effort, disappointed in the loss.”
Kurt Burmeister hauled in two first quarter scoring tosses among his eight receptions. The plays covered 39 and 31 yards. Place also connected with Gabe Apple on an 11-yard touchdown strike with 8:22 left that pushed the lead to 28-10.
Central’s Ethan Campbell scored twice in the fourth quarter to keep the Trojans close. One of his scores came from 68 yards. He set up his second touchdown by returning a kick to the Marquette 30. He subsequently scored from six yards out to make 31-23 with 3:45 left.
After that score, the Trojans held Marquette, forcing a punt from the Redmen 21. But the Trojans were penalized on the return and had to start from their own 30 with just over two minutes to play. Two running plays netted seven yards and then two pass attempts fell incomplete to end Central’s chances.
Traverse City scored the first 10 points of the third quarter as Sean Williams tossed a six-yard scoring pass to Joe Schepperly and Jacob Gorter booted a 40-yard field goal.
Campbell finished with 123 yards in 13 carries.
Central returns to action Thursday at Thirlby Field, hosting Escanaba. Marquette hosts Cheboygan on Friday.
“We’ll evaluate the film, and get back to work,” Passinault said.