WAPAKONETA — When defending Division VI state champion Marion Local grabbed a 28-7 lead early in the fourth quarter, it looked like they would cruise to victory at Harmon Field in Wapakoneta.
But somebody forgot to tell St. Henry.
The Redskins roared back with two fourth quarter scores and had the ball at the Flyers’ 18-yard line before falling short and losing the regional final game 28-21. Marion Local moves on to play McComb on Friday in the state semifinals at a site to be determined.
St. Henry had grabbed an early 7-0 lead when the Flyers Jacy Goettemoeller fumbled the ball on the Marion Local first play from scrimmage and the Redskins took over at the Flyers 17-yard line.
St. Henry took only four plays before Adam Reichart ran it in from 3 yards out to give the Redskins an early 7-0 lead.
Marion Local immediately answered with an 11-play, 78-yard drive that culminated in Alaric Keller bulling in from 1 yard out to tie the game at 7-7.
The Flyers grabbed the lead in the second quarter when quarterback Adam Bertke dashed in from 7 yards out to put Marion Local up 14-7 going to the half.
Goettemoeller returned the second half kickoff 60 yards to put the Flyers in business at the Redskins’ 33-yard line.
It took the Flyers only five plays to score and Marion Local (11-2) was up 21-7 when Goettemoeller scored from 5 yards out.
The game clincher came when Goettemoeller dashed 76 yards early in the fourth quarter on a second-and-31 play from the Redskins’ 24-yard line.
“We really don’t have a second-and-31 play,” Flyers coach Tim Goodwin said. “I felt like we should give it to our best runner and he broke it.”
But St. Henry (9-4) answered behind the aerial game led by quarterback Kyle Stahl.
Stahl connected on a 20-yard scoring strike to Tyler Schwieterman with 9:06 to play that got the Redskins back to within 28-14.
Stahl struck again on the next St. Henry possession as he got them back to within 28-21 when he connected with Jeff Paul on a 9-yard scoring pass.
Only 2:24 remained in the game and it looked like Marion Local would be punching its ticket to the state semifinals, but a three-and-out possession gave the ball back to St. Henry with 1:24 left to play.
After two short completions, Stahl connected with Matt Osterholt on a 53-yard bomb that put the Redskins in business at the Flyers 18-yard line with 50 seconds left to play.
Four straight incomplete passes turned the ball over to Marion Local on downs and the Flyers could begin to celebrate.
“We battled but just ran out of time,” St. Henry coach Jeff Starkey said. “I’m so proud of our kids, we just came up one play short.”
Stahl finished the game connecting on 21-of-37 in the air for 301 yards and two touchdowns.
Goettemoeller had a big night, totalling 157 rushing yards to go along with his two trips to the end zone.
“We’ve got things that we need to do better but we are in the state semifinals with only five seniors,” Goodwin said. “Our kids played their butts off, and we got those stops when we needed them.”