FINDLAY — Archbold had it won until it didn’t.
Leading by three with less than a minute to go and after a sack put Marion Pleasant at its 1, the Blue Streaks had their foe seemingly beat.
However, on the next play Pleasant quarterback Ethan Warner hit Lane Russell for a 92-yard pass down the Streaks’ sideline, and he was run down at the Archbold 7.
Sam Petersen threw for 128 yards and ran for 155 yards for Archbold, but the Blue Streaks' season came to an end with a 28-24 loss to Marion Pleasant.
With 15 seconds left, Warner completed a broken play to Tristan Conklin in the end zone and a whiplash of a 28-24 victory in a Division V regional semifinal game at Findlay’s Donnell Stadium on Friday night.
“There really are no words I can put to express how I feel right now,” Archbold coach David Dominique said. “The big thing for us is we didn’t make enough plays, and they made more. Hats off to Marion Pleasant. They played a good game. They took advantage of our mistakes out there.”
It was a lot for the second-seeded Spartans (10-1) to comprehend.
“Our kids fought to the end. It’s something we preach to our kids,” Pleasant coach Aaron Cook said.
Third-seeded Archbold (9-3) seemed to put the game out of reach when Noah Gomez ran for a 9-yard touchdown in building a 24-14 lead and 11 minutes, 48 seconds left.
But the Spartans came back with a nine-play drive that took less than three minutes with a Carter Wolf 13-yard touchdown catch from Warner.
It was a three-point game after the teams traded three-and-outs, and it remained so when Warner was intercepted by Archbold’s do-everything Sam Petersen with 2:23 left. Pleasant’s defense forced another three-and-out with 1:15 left, setting up the dramatic three-play drive to win it.
“We were there to make plays and we didn’t make plays. There’s no one person’s fault. We had all our opportunities and couldn’t capitalize, but they did. They are a heck of a football program and well-coached. It was a physical football game and a good game,” Dominique said.
Petersen, filling in his is injured twin brother at quarterback, was electric for the Streaks, completing 7 of 17 passes for two touchdowns and 128 yards and rushing for 155 more.
“Sam stepped in. I don’t think anybody gave us a chance without [Gabe]. He’s a competitor and the other guys around him stepped up as well,” Dominique said.
The lead changed four times in the first half as Kaiden Bedsole kicked a 25-yard field goal midway through the first quarter for Archbold. Pleasant answered with a five-play drive keyed by big runs from Matt Chase and Patrick Blubaugh to set up Warner’s 5-yard touchdown run.
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