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OTTAWA — Cole Lindhout fell into the arms of Curtiss Johnson, supported and tried to comfort his teammate’s tears.
One of the best seasons in Marquette football history had just come to an excruciating and painful end.
The No. 2-seeded Crusaders had a double-digit second-half lead in Saturday’s Class 1A second-round playoff game against Forreston, but Marquette was unable to hold on and saw its season end with a 35-34 overtime loss.
“What else can you say? They played their guts out and they played hard but came up a point short,” Marquette coach Tom Jobst said. “You couldn’t ask anymore from these guys than what they gave tonight.”
After Forreston scored 15 points in 3 1/2 minutes to tie the game at 28-28, Marquette received the first possession of overtime at the 10-yard line.
Junior quarterback Patrick Killelea ran for a 5-yard gain before Johnson punched it in for a 5-yard touchdown on a fullback dive to put the Cru up 34-28.
Instead of attempting the PAT kick, Marquette opted for the two-point conversion, but on the same play on which he scored, Johnson was stood up shy of the goal line.
“Our PAT kicks have been iffy and we felt that we could run for three (yards),” Jobst said. “We’d been pretty good at that all night on that play, but it just didn’t happen that time.”
On their overtime possession, the Cardinals (9-2) needed two plays to get to the 1-yard line, but on third-and-goal Marquette’s Elliot Kowalski timed the play, broke through the line and tackled the Forreston running back for a 3-yard loss to set up fourth-and-goal from the 4.
A defensive stop away from advancing to the quarterfinals, Forreston quarterback Brett Carlson scrambled to his left and found receiver Robert DeVries in the end zone for the game-tying touchdown.
Backup kicker Ross Williams kicked the PAT to give Forreston the one-point victory.
“Robert ran a great route and the cornerback had decent coverage,” Forreston coach Denny Diduch said. “But that’s one of those routes that if you throw it perfectly it’s really hard to stop.”
Marquette (10-1) appeared to be on its way into the quarterfinals midway through the third quarter.
Up 14-13 at halftime, Lindhout scored on a 6-yard run to give the Cru a 20-13 lead with 7:36 left in the third quarter, and then Johnson added a 7-yard touchdown run to make it 28-13 with 4:08 left in the third quarter.
However, Forreston marched down the field and scored as Williams found the end zone on a 4-yard run to pull the Cardinals to 28-20 with 29.2 seconds left in third quarter.
Forreston then caught Marquette off-guard with an onside kick, which it recovered at the 42-yard line.
The Cardinals once again drove the field and scored as Forreston fullback Ben Kraft found paydirt on a 5-yard run.
Carlson found DeVries on the two-point conversion pass to tie the game at 28-28 with 9:55 left in regulation.
“I knew we had enough time,” Diduch said of the 15-point deficit. “That’s one good thing about the no huddle is you have to believe that in the fourth quarter you are going to be in better shape (than your opponent) and that you can put something together.”
The Cru also failed to take advantage of their chances, including at the end the first half.
After Killelea found receiver Tyler Hellman for a 7-yard touchdown pass, Kraft fumbled the kickoff to give Marquette possession at Forreston’s 38-yard line with 21.2 seconds left in the half.
Marquette drove to the 7-yard line, but after failing to score twice, opted to try a third time to score instead of attempting a field goal.
Killelea was sacked to end the half to keep the game at 14-13 at halftime. Johnson finished with 134 yards and two TD runs, while Killelea threw for 162 yards, two TDs and two interceptions.
Carlson threw four passes in the game, three of which were touchdown throws to DeVries and two of which came on fourth down.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
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