WAPAKONETA — The state championship game will have trouble topping this.
Marion Local scored twice in overtime. So did McComb.
Then, finally after a Flyers’ stop, Jacy Goettemoeller wouldn’t be denied.
Goettemoeller zig-zagged his way for a 7-yard TD in the third overtime to lift Marion Local to a 34-28 victory over McComb in the Division VI football state semifinals Friday at Harmon Field.
Goettemoeller made all three runs in the third overtime period — 6 yards, 7 and the third for 7, in which he stopped and cut back and flew into the end zone for the game-winning score.
“It felt great,” Goettemoeller said. “I just wanted to celebrate with my teammates. It was awesome.
“(On the last play) the line kept flowing right and I saw a cut-back lane and I cut back and went right in.”
Defending state champion Marion Local (12-2) advances to the state championship game against Newark Catholic at 11 a.m. Friday at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. McComb ends its season 13-1.
“Going back-to-back years, I hope we can do it again,” Goettemoeller said.
Marion Local coach Tim Goodwin said, “This is three weeks in a row where we’ve beaten a senior-laden team, good teams and we’ve been able to find a way to hold on, fight, scratch and beat them. It’s really amazing.”
McComb had the ball first in the third overtime, but a costly offensive pass interference set the Panthers back on their first play. It cost them 15 yards and loss of down and they weren’t able to recover.
“That penalty really hurt,” McComb coach Kris Alge said.
McComb reached the 21, but a fourth-down incompletion turned the ball over the Marion Local for the Flyers’ winning drive in the third OT.
Both teams were stopped on their first possessions of overtime without scoring.
But in the second overtime, Goettemoeller got loose on the second play for a 14-yard TD on a sweep around the right side. That gave Marion Local a 28-21 lead.
McComb scored in the second overtime, as well, but the Panthers’ score came off a fourth-and-1 from the 11. Touchdown/Downtown Jerry Brown took the ball, then lofted a jump pass at the line of scrimmage for an 11-yard TD to Clay Dysert.
That tied the game at 28 entering the third overtime.
The game was filled with turnovers and mistakes, but turned out to be a battle to the end.
In all, Marion Local had five turnovers. McComb had five turnovers and one botched punt.
Marion Local led 21-0 at the half, before McComb scored seven in the third and 14 in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 21 and force overtime.
For Marion Local, the 5-foot-10 Goettemoeller finished with 91 yards on 21 carries.
“He’s something else,” Goodwin said of Goettemoeller. “He’s a special talent.”
Flyers quarterback Adam Bertke ran for 72 yards on 24 carries.
In the air, Bertke completed 16 of 25 for 200 yards. He threw one TD, but had four interceptions.
Brown ran for only 38 yards on 12 carries with one TD. But he had 10 catches for 177 yards, including an 89-yard TD. He also threw a TD.
McComb quarterback Dalton Buck completed 30 of 48 for 352 yards. He threw two TDs, but had three interceptions, two by Bertke.
Bertke’s first interception went for a 25-yard TD to give Marion Local a 7-0 lead. The Flyers made it 14-0 on a 39-yard TD pass from Bertke to Troy Homan.
Goettmoeller’s 1-yard TD gave the Flyers a 21-0 lead at the half.
“The kids are fighters,” Alge said. “They believe in themselves. They knew 21 down that they came back last week when we scored 21 in the fourth quarter.”
Brown’s 8-yard TD run brought McComb within 21-7 with 4:37 left in the third.
But the game-changing play was Brown’s 89-yard TD catch on a fly down the right sideline in which he outran the Marion Local secondary. That brought McComb with 21-14 with 4:46 to go.
McComb then used seven-play, 68-yard drive to tie it. Buck hit Cody Wilson on a 15-yard slant pass for a TD to tie the game at 21 with 1:46 to play.
From there, it was back-and-forth until the final play.