Coming into Saturday's first round game between the #5 seed Aquin Bulldogs and #12 seed Fisher Bunnies, one thing was for certain, this was not your typical 5 vs 12 seed game. The game would prove to be true to that as well.
The first half was a shoot out, as Fisher went to work early. On the 2nd play of the game halfback Colby Dula connected with Brandon Henson on a 26 yard gain on the HB pass. The Bunnies would continue to march down the field on the ground capping of their opening drive with a Jaden Jones-Watkins 66 yard TD run to take a 7-0 lead with 9:48 left in the 1st quarter.
Aquin would answer, after the Dawgs converted a 4th down pass, Jonah Diemer found the end zone on a 3 yard TD run to tie the game at 7 with 6:04 left in the 1st quarter.
After forcing Fisher to punt, the Aquin offense went back to work. But, it was short lived as a Diemer pass was intercepted by Fisher's Dakota Matthews at Fisher's 33 yard line. The score remained tied at 7 after 1 quarter of play.
Fisher would take their next drive into the 2nd quarter, after driving down to the Aquin 23 yard line QB Kade Thomas found Henson over the top on a 23 yard TD pass to give Fisher a 14-7 lead with 10:13 left in the first half.
The Dawgs came back again, after a huge kick return set them up inside the Fisher 10 yard line, at the 7. The next play Diemer connected with Keegan Koester for a 7 yard TD pass and tied the game at 14 with 9:47 to play in the 2nd quarter.
The Bunnies would answer right back just as quick, as Jones-Watkins caught a Thomas pass for a 73 yard TD and put the Bunnies back out in front 21-14 with 6:29 left in the half.
Aquin would respond with another drive of their own, this time capped off with a Diemer pass to Bryce Carlson for a 12 yard TD connection. The extra point was blocked, as Fisher held onto the lead 21-20 with 3:25 left in the half.
On the Bunnies ensuing drive they were forced into a 4th down by the Aquin defense, but the Bunnies pulled a rabbit out of the hat trick play with a fake punt as Thomas connected with Jones-Watkins to extend the drive. Thomas would then connect with Tyler Wilson for 18 yards and the score as the Bunnies went up 27-20 after the extra point was no good with 33 seconds left in the half, and took that lead to the locker room.
The 1st half shootout would give way to a second half defensive struggle marred by turnovers. Aquin would recover a Bunnies fumble at the Fisher 10 yard line, but the Fisher defense would hold and turn the Dawgs away without a point. Fisher would take the 27-20 lead into the 4th quarter.
At the start of the 4th quarter, Aquin would once again recover a Fisher fumble in the red zone, this time Aquin would capitalize as Diemer found Zac Cummins on the TD reception to tie the game with 10:34 remaining in the game.
Aquin would have the last drive of regulation as they began to drive the ball with under 2 minutes left in the game. They would drive the ball down to the Fisher 20 yard line with seconds left on the clock as Coach Troy Barr decided to go for the win by way of a 37 yard field goal attempt. Kicking against a wind out of the north, Zac Cummins connected by inches to give Aquin a 30-27 lead with 3 seconds left on the clock.
Fisher could not make magic happen on the kick return as time expired, propelling the Bulldogs into the 2nd round in a game they never saw the lead until the very end.
The win moves Aquin to the 2nd round, where a road trip to Stockton in a conference rival showdown will happen next Saturday. These 2 teams played just 3 weeks ago that saw Stockton hold on for a 16-14 win to win the NUIC Upstate title in week 8. Stockton advanced to the 2nd round by way of a 36-6 win over North Fulton on Saturday.