MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Despite 2020 being an unprecedented year, the Marquette Redmen were able to flourish with one of the best, if not the best season in school history.
The Redmen played a full season while battling through the Coronavirus pandemic and carried a strong end to their regular season into the playoffs.
The Redmen captured two postseason wins before being defeated by Muskegon to end their season. It was the first time Marquette played in the third round of the postseason in school history.
“It was a great class that we lost that went and graduated last year, we had some very dynamic kids,” said Eric Mason, the head coach for Marquette. “We didn’t have a lot, I mean we only had 12 seniors last year. Those 12 were effective and we’re going to miss them.”
Marquette will re-load after losing big names such as Kameron Karp, Brady Wright, and Ty Lotterman. But, the cabinet is not completely bare. They return three players who earned all-state honors last season.
“On paper, we have a really good group,” said Mason. “Like I tell the guy’s paper is, wrinkle it up, throw it away, burn it, do whatever you want to do, it’s not any good, it’s what you do from there.”
Austin Ridl returns under center for his third season as the starting quarterback. He has lofty goals for himself and the offense.
“Personally my goals are to have more touchdowns than I’ve had both my first two years,” said Ridl. “Not too many interceptions, scoring a lot of points trying to put up at least 30 points every game. I think that’s putting us in a good spot every game if we can do that. Not having any offensive breakdowns. I can’t be making too many mistakes. So, just trying to be consistent and make good plays.”
Ridl will once against have a plethora of weapons including senior wide receiver, Justin Jurmu. Jurmu spent part of the summer at the FBU Top Gun Showcase in Naples, Florida competing against some of the top talents in the nation.
“It gave me a lot of confidence, especially going up against those kids and I stacked up pretty well against them,” said Jurmu. “So, just to do something like that against other kids that have a lot of fame behind their name, it gave me a lot of confidence and it definitely is going to carry over into the season.”
“We got four really good receivers coming back and I think we should be just as dangerous as last year,” said Ridl. “I mean, yeah we got Justin who is a big-time receiver, but we also have kids like David Eberhard who catches the ball pretty much every time. Jordan DeMay who we didn’t see much last year, can ball. Then we got Owen Beauchamp who I think personally is the closest in speed to Kam(Karp) who has the breakaway speed that Kam has and that playmaking ability. I think he will be huge for us.”
Defensive back Desmond Mullen became the first player in school history to earn first-team all-state honors last season as a junior. He returns to lead the defense. He will also have a big role on the other side of the ball as a running back.
“I’m looking forward to big things because he was 165lbs last year and he’s almost 190lbs now,” said Mason. “Desmond is going to be by far one of the kids I’m looking towards and I expect big things out of him. He’s the quarterback of our defense. Without him, we’re significantly less as far as our knowledge of what’s going on, and our coverages of different things. He’s just an endless film watcher, he understands the game and his instincts are second to none.”
Mullen credits his upbringing as a younger sibling for his motivation to be great.
“Honestly, ever since I was young I just wanted to be better than my brother,” said Mullen. “So, that just kind of motivates me there. Then, to just be the best person I can be for myself.”
For the Redmen players, they have their eyes set on a district title after falling just short last season.
“We came in this spring and we had a meeting, it was kind of like a player meeting that we set up, the captains,” said Ridl. “We all talked and I told the team, I said that we had to make the goals because writing them down on paper and the board and seeing them helps us succeed a lot more. We matched up with Muskegon the last two years and we’re going to have to go through them eventually. I think a really good goal is trying to win a district championship this year and bringing some hardware home to Marquette.”
The Redmen kick off the season with a home game against Alpena on august 26th.