When it comes to September 21 during the upcoming high school football season, the sounds of crunching pads and screaming fans may be missing at Marquette Academy's Gould Stadium.
According to a tweet posted Monday afternoon by Mike Buda, a sports director at a television station in Rockford, the Crusaders' scheduled Week 5 opponent, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, plans to co-op with Rockford Christian Life this season in 8-man football — pending IHSA approval — with the Eagles coaching staff leading the program.
OLSH, which was the smallest IHSA school (enrollment 18) to field an 11-man football team last season, is currently a member of the Northeastern Athletic Conference with Marquette.
"We know that our game against Our Lady of the Sacred Heart is really iffy right now," said Marquette Academy head coach Tom Jobst on Tuesday afternoon. "If (OLSH) gets approval to go to 8-man, then it becomes finding an opponent that week wherever we can find one. We will just have to wait and see what happens."
Marquette faced somewhat the same scenario prior to last season when then-NAC members Alden-Hebron, Westminster Christian and Christian Life opted for 8-man, leaving the Crusaders scrambling to find opponents to fill those open dates.
Marquette shut out the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Guardians last season 56-0.