The Dakota Indians hit the road in the IHSA Class 1A 2nd round playoff with match up to square off with the #3 state ranked and #1 seeded Marquette Crusaders. Marquette came into this game after they defeated Milledgeville in Round 1 last week, while Dakota came in after they defeated Polo 42-21 last week.
Marquette would start the game with the ball, and went to work quickly. They got a big play off the bat from Joe Hawks, as he took the first carry of the game 42 yards into Dakota territory before being brought down. 3 minutes later the Crusaders punched the ball into the end zone on a Zach Dyche 1 yard TD run to give the Cru a 6-0 lead.
Dakota would respond on their 2nd offensive play as Matt Holste raced 71 yards for a TD, and after a successful extra point try the Indians were out in front 7-6. It would be the only time in the game that the Indians would have the lead.
Marquette would answer the Dakota score with a 66 yard drive that lasted just over 5 minutes and was capped off by another Dyche 1 yard TD plunge. The 2 point conversion was good and Marquette reclaimed the lead 14-7.
In the middle of the 2nd quarter Dakota would move the ball to midfield. On a 3rd down play with just over 5 minutes remaining in the half Dakota QB Cade Meier dropped back to pass and Dyche was their on the defensive side to intercept the pass with 5:16 to go. Marquette would march 58 yards in just over 2 minutes to reach pay dirt again on a Hawks 4 yard TD run as Marquette would take a 20-7 lead into half time.
Dakota came out in the 2nd half with a different demeanor. The first drive of the half for Dakota saw them go 65 yards in just under 2 minutes as Meier hit Carter Drake for an 11 yard TD pass. The extra point failed, but Dakota closed the gap to a score, down 20-13.
With 5:59 remaining in the 3rd quarter Marquette would go on an 80 yard drive that lasted over 6 minutes, as Logan Komater connected with Ryan Donahue for a 22 yard TD pass with 10:26 remaining to take a 26-13 lead.
Dakota wasn't prepared to go off in the sunset lightly as less than 2 minutes later Andrew Wenger found room for 73 yards and a score. The extra point was good and Marquette now led 26-20.
Dakota's defense would stall Marquette at the Crusaders 29 yard line with 6:42 to play and force a punt after an exchange of timeouts. Dakota would start the drive on their own 32 yard line and quickly drove to the Marquette 35 yard line. With a 1st and 10 Dakota chose a pass play. Meier dropped back to pass and quickly threw a pass to Hunter Knox. Knox tipped the pass and Joe Hawks came up with the interception with 4:25 to play to seal the game. Marquette would drive into Dakota territory, pick up a couple of first downs, and force Dakota to call their final timeout before running out the clock to win the game 26-20.
For Dakota Andrew Wenger finished with 9 carries for 102 yards and 1 TD. Matt Holste had 10 carries for 102 yards and 1 TD. Cade Meier was 4-8 passing for 71 yards with 1 TD and 2 INT. Carter Drake had 2 receptions for 23 yards and 1 TD, Hunter Knox had 1 reception for 40 yards, and Wenger had 1 reception for 8 yards. Dakota finished the day with 287 total yards of offense with 216 yards rushing and 71 yards passing.
For Marquette Ryan Donahue led the way with 20 carries for 103 yards and 3 receptions for 71 yards and 1TD. Joe Hawks had 6 carries for 51 yards and 1 TD and came up with the decisive INT on defense. Zach Dyche chipped in with 18 carries for 41 yards and 2 TD. Logan Komater was 10-14 passing for 145 yards and 1 TD, while Sam Hettel had 6 receptions for 68 yards. Marquette finished with 370 yards of total offense on 225 yards rushing and 145 yards passing.
Dakota ends their season with a 7-4 record in the 2nd round of the playoffs. Dakota will miss many starters from this years team, but should remain competitive in the NUIC Northwest next season.
Head over to our Flickr Account to view all game photos.