This IHSA round 2 game allowed an opportunity for a rematch from the round 2 game in 2016 where Marquette won 26-20 in Ottawa. This time it would take place in Dakota, and the pre-game hype got the adrenaline rushing. What was seen as a David vs Goliath match-up in seeding, on paper it was anything but that as it showed it to be a toss up type of game.
Marquette would receive the ball to start the game, but they would quickly go 3 and out behind a pumped up Dakota defense. Once Dakota got the ball, they began to slowly march down the field, holding the ball, chewing up the clock for almost 7 minutes. At the end of the drive it was Trey Engelbrecht who put the first points on the board with his 1 yard TD dive across the line. The point after kick by Nolan Lentz was good as Dakota took a 7-0 lead with 2:59 left in the 1st quarter.
On the very next Crusader series, Marquette would open up quickly with a couple dives by Preston Auckland and Jack Snook, but once across the 50 yard line Logan Komater found Shane Reynolds streaking down the left sideline with nobody around him on a 48 yard TD pass. The extra point kick failed as Dakota clung to a 7-6 lead to end the 1st quarter.
The remainder of the 1st quarter went scoreless, with Dakota clinging to the 7-6 lead at the half. Statistically, Marquette finished the 1st half with 160 yards of offense to Dakota's 98 yards.
In the second half, the 3rd quarter had both teams trading blows, but Dakota's special teams really helped neutralize the Crusader offense, as Nolan Lentz would continually pin the Cru deep every time in their own territory, with their average starting drive coming from their own 19 yard line. Both teams had troubles sustaining drives as they traded punches, but Dakota would take over with 2:22 left in the 3rd quarter.
The Indians would begin their 3rd drive of the 2nd half from their own 30 yard line, and once again slowly chewed up clock behind many Josh Clark designed runs or QB keepers. Every time the Indians looked like they would be stopped on a 3rd down play, they converted by a yard or two every time as they drove into Marquette territory. Dakota would get a big spark from Cade Kloster, as he rushed off the left tackle, found a hole to slither through and ran down the left sideline for a big 15 yard run setting up the Indians with a 1st and goal at the 8 yard line. Just 2 plays later, it was Clark punching the ball in with a 3 yard run off left tackle. Once again, the Lentz PAT kick was good as Dakota took a 14-6 lead with 9:06 left in the game.
Just as Dakota was getting comfortable, Marquette once again started deep in their own territory, but quickly went to the air as Komater connected with Jack Snook three different times for big gains, and also had things going with his feet. Once inside the 5, Marquette went to pounding the fullback as they ran Auckland on consecutive plays, with his 2nd run putting the Cru on the board. Forced to go for a 2 point conversion to tie the game, the Dakota defense guessed right, as Coach Sheets yelled out to his team to watch the QB off end, and as predicted, he was right as Trey Engelbrecht burst through the line on a blitz and took Komater down in the backfield to stop the threat.
Dakota still had a 14-12 lead with 6:10 to go in the game, and they would muster every ounce of that clock to preserve the win. With the win, Dakota will go to the quarterfinals for the 5th time in school history. They will play conference foe Forreston for the right at a shot for the semifinals. It will be a rematch of their week 3 game where Forreston dominated to a 40-20 win.
For the game, Dakota managed to own time of possession, having the ball for 34:21 compared to Marquette having the ball for 13:39. The second half yards were even, but for the game Marquette finished with 262 yards of offense to Dakota's 204 yards, but Dakota dominated field position all game.
Dakota was led by Josh Clark, who went 6-6 passing for 33 yards, and also had 72 yards rushing on 20 carries with 1 TD. Aden Cassidy contributed 13 carries for 44 yards, and cracked the 1,000 yard barrier for his career. Trey Engelbrecht had 33 yards rushing on 10 carries with 1 TD.
Marquette was led by Logan Komater, who finished the day with 159 yards passing on 9 completions with 15 attempts and 1 TD. Jack Snook had 5 receptions for 81 yards, while Preston Auckland had 10 carries for 42 yards and 1 TD.