For the 3rd week in a row the Marquette Crusaders were matching up with an NUIC opponent in the Class 1A playoffs. This one was in the Quarterfinals at Conley Field where the Aquin Bulldogs were the hosts. The #4 seeded Bulldogs came into the game as the #10 state ranked team, while Marquette had the #1 seed and the #3 state ranking. This game would definitely match the hype.
Marquette would get on the board first as their second possession of the game lasted just under 3 minutes and went 85 yards, sparked by a big 67 yard pass play from Logan Komater to Sam Hettel, and capped by a Zach Dyche 1 yard TD run that put the Cru up 7-0 in the 1st quarter.
Aquin would respond on their 2nd drive of the game as 73 yards and 4 and a half minutes later Jonah Diemer rolled out of the pocket to his left and found an unguarded Zac Cummins in the back of the end zone for a 17 yard TD pass to tie the game at 7 at the end of the 1st quarter.
Marquette would answer right back with a 4 and a half minute drive of their own that would go 65 yards and was capped off by Komater finding Hettel again, this time for a 16 yard TD pass that gave Marquette a 14-7 lead that they would take into the half.
Aquin started the 2nd half receiving the ball, but were forced to punt after moving the ball 21 yards to their own 45 yard line. The punt would give the Crusaders the ball at their own 22 yard line, and the Aquin defense would drive them back 4 yards and force a punt 3 plays later. Aquin would start their 2nd drive of the half on Marquette's 43 yard line. Quickly Diemer would connect with Cummins again for a 43 yard TD pass to tie the game back up at 14.
Marquette would get back to work and chew up 4 minutes off the clock and drive the ball 53 yards to the Aquin 13 where the Bulldog defense would stiffen to bring up a 4th down. David Marin would come out to kick a 29 yard field goal to regain the lead 17-14 with 2:43 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
Aquin would answer that field goal with another Diemer strike, this time connecting with Tim Harrington for 74 yards and the score a little over a minute later to capture their first lead of the game 21-17 with 1:33 remaining in the 3rd.
The Bulldogs would force Marquette to punt once again with just under 9 minutes left in the game still holding on to their 4 point lead. Aquin would start the drive from their own 45 yard line and were knocking on the door just over 2 minutes later as they moved the ball to the Marquette 8 yard line, 1 yard short of the first down marker. On 3rd and 1 Aquin called for a pass play, which fell incomplete in the end zone. On 4th and 1 Aquin chose to go for it, once again calling a pass play, and once again the pass fell incomplete in the end zone turning the ball over on downs at Marquette's 8 yard line.
This would come back to haunt the Bulldogs as Marquette would go to work and eat up the clock. Marquette would put up another 4 and a half minute drive, going 92 yards and capping the drive off with a Komater 1 yard TD dive. The extra point was good and Marquette had the lead 24-21 with 1:51 left in the game.
Aquin would take possession at their own 20 yard as the kickoff went into the end zone for a touchback. The Bulldogs would get to work quickly as Diemer found Bryce Carlson for 8 yards. Two plays later Diemer found Cole Luedeking for a 34 yard gain. Two plays later Diemer found Carlson again for 17 yards giving the Bulldogs a 1st down at the Marquette 21 yard line. Diemer would drop back to pass on consecutive plays as both passes fell incomplete in the end zone. Facing 3rd and 10 with just over 40 seconds remaining, Diemer would once again drop back to pass, only this time the pass would find the hands of Marquette's Sam Hettel as he picked the ball off at the 8 yard line, returned it to the Marquette 16 yard line, and Marquette would go into victory formation for the thrilling 24-21 win.
Marquette will host Forreston, which will be their 4th straight NUIC opponent, in the semifinals next week in Ottawa.
On the day Aquin would out gain Marquette 436 yards to 367 yards for Marquette. Jonah Diemer would finish the day completing 24 passes on 36 attempts for 421 yards with 3 TD's and 2 INT's. Tim Harrington would lead all receivers with 6 receptions for 140 yards and 1 TD. Zac Cummins would contribute 5 receptions for 115 yards and 2 TD's, while Bryce Carlson hauled in 6 passes for 107 yards.
For Marquette they would finish with 146 yards passing and 221 yards rushing. Leading the way for the Crusaders was Zach Dyche who carried the ball 24 times for 95 yards and 1 TD. Ryan Donahue would carry the ball 13 times for 82 yards on the day. Logan Komater was 4-9 passing for 146 yards with 1 TD and had 5 carries for -16 yards and 1 TD. Komater was sacked 4 times. Same Hettel would have 3 receptions for 109 yards and 1 TD, and the interception on defense to seal the game for the Crusaders.
Aquin ends their season with a 10-2 record. They will have some key returners next year and you can expect to see the Bulldogs fighting for the top spot in the Upstate division in 2017.
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