In a magnificent match of will and tenacity, Marion Local defeated Coldwater in a way all too familiar from past games. They turned the situation around with a last-second field goal from Kevin Partington to win, 24-21.
Maria Stein, Ohio – Next, Marion’s local coach Tim Goodwin would describe it simply in the usual wayâ¦ like gaining a few yards, sledding tough and MAC football.
But in Friday’s game between Marion (Division VII) and Coldwater (Division VI), the state’s top-ranked, he surely had moments of anxiety and a different appreciation as Coldwater overcame a 21- lead. 7 Marion in the first half to tie the game midway through the fourth quarter at 21-21.
Then her Marion Flyers had to withstand one final Coldwater practice that stalled on a fourth down and 16 at Marion’s 32-yard line as Coldwater desperately tried to get in kicking range and win a bit. de dÃ©jÃ vu from past Marion-Coldwater matches. On two occasions in recent history, Coldwater had won this game thanks to the field goals of former players Kyle McKibben and Neil Muhlenkamp.
Instead, Marion stopped Coldwater, took possession with just over two minutes left, ran 65 yards into the field and with two seconds on the clock sent kicker Kevin Partington to try for a 26-yard field goal. For victory.
âPerfect snap, perfect holding and perfect blocking from the offensive line,â Partington said afterwards. His kick sailed just inside the left upright to keep Marion Local undefeated with a 24-21 victory.
Goodwin could have rightly embellished it a bit by calling it “magnificent” MAC footballâ¦ for the fact of a multitude of big plays, big shots and just plain tenacity from Coldwater and Marion Local. . In a game where graduating players from every school later admit they grow up thinking, the 2021 edition left nothing to be desired.
âIf you’re just a casual fan it was a great game,â said Coldwater coach Chip Otten. âOn both sides, you have to feel good about the effort. Lots of big games, lots of good games, and shitâ¦ we felt like we should have hit that basket at the end. But they stopped us and Peyton Otte wanted his team to win, and we knew when the crunch came he would be the guy.
And Otte, indeed, was the guy, rushing for 159 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, while also throwing efficiently – completing 6 of 12 – for 100 extra yards. Of Marion’s total of 338 yards, Peyton Otte totaled 259 – 76%!
âHe’s a warrior,â Goodwin said afterwards. “He is. This kid is in such good shape, and it’s amazing what he has done for us. I don’t like doing that, really not, but every week the whole offensive load is on his shoulders, and he’s covering the other team’s top receiver in defense. It’s just a big charge.
He took responsibility on Friday with a 39-yard run as time ticked off in the first quarter, which saw the Flyers score the first and the goal out of ten, then score on a six-yard run under a steady rain to give the Flyers a 7-0 lead with 20 seconds left.
On the possession of Coldwater that followed, running back Luke Sudhoff was slammed near the 25-yard line, the ball shot out and Marion’s Josh Kuether fell on it to give the Flyers another great scoring opportunity. At 10:04 of the second quarter, Dylan Fleck delivered, running from five yards to bring the score to 14-0 and create moments of anxiety for Cavalier’s supporters who filled the visitors’ stands.
But Coldwater’s Reece Dellinger shook off the shock and showed his own ‘warrior’, leading the Cavaliers on a seven-game workout that took four minutes and culminated with a wide-open 24-yard touchdown to Tanner Muhlenkamp to close the margin. at 2-7 at 6:58 am.
Marion and Otte came back right away, taking the kickoff and passing the midfield, where Otte got a great block on the scrimmage line and sprinted freely and through the Coldwater secondary for 39 yards and his second half-time touchdown to give Marion a 21-7 lead with 2 minutes and 21 seconds remaining before half-time. Too much time!
Dellinger came back straight away with a series of dink and dunk throws to pick up yards and first downs, totaling 77 yards in 12 plays to set up a touchdown pass to Jesse Meyer from 11 yards with 35 seconds remaining to cut the deficit at 21-14 at the break.
Both teams settled down for physical football to start the second half, trading possessions in a scoreless third quarter.
But Dellinger started the fourth quarter with another quick-pitching practice at Meyer, Tyler Schwieterman, Muhlenkamp and Marcel Blasingame – 12 plays for 77 yards before finding Meyer in the end zone for 16 yards and the tying touchdown at 6:29. to play. the game.
“Reece played really well,” Otten would later say. âHe made a fumble early and we said, ‘Hey, man, if we’re going to be in this game you’re gonna have to forget that. âWe had some good catches after that, tried to spread it out a bit and throw the ball quickly. He (Dellinger) played well tonight, and I hope he can keep going.
Dellinger finished 23 of 40 for 259 of Coldwater’s 281 yards and three touchdowns. He had another golden opportunity with five minutes left. Marion failed to move the ball after Meyer’s touchdown and had to punt, only the punt was on the side of the foot and went out of bounds on Marion’s 43-yard line. Suddenly Dellinger and company got an opportunity they hadn’t had all night.
They quickly drove to Marion’s 29-yard line with 3:46 left and a first down. But over four successive games, the Flyers’ defense stiffened, pushed them back, and suddenly the prospects of hitting that late basket again to move forward and maybe win became unlikely. Facing the third down and 13 yards to go for the first down, Coldwater lost three yards and faced the fourth and 16 from outside the 30-yard line. The basket was out of reach; the only option was to try and win the first down, and Dellinger’s pass attempt fell to the ground incompletely.
On Marion’s previous possession, Peyton Otte had received a heavy blow fighting for a few more yards and lay on his back for a long time before getting up. Visibly shaken, he missed a series of downs in defense before returning to the game.
But now he had recovered the ball on offense, with just over two minutes to go to put the Flyers in scoring position. He ran, of course, picking up a tough first down in front of the Coldwater sideline. On the next set of downs, facing the third and long, he placed a perfect pass into the hands of receiver Aidan Eifert in the middle of the field for the first down to extend the drive – a sloppy play, but critical in the ultimate. results. The clock continued to count as Otte and his company finally moved it to the Cavalier’s seven-yard line … with two seconds left.
Goodwin called for a time out for Partington to be on the field to attempt a kick of about 25 yards. Although he has proven to be a reliable kicker over the past two years, Partington had never been able to score a goal for a win on foot.
âI just tried to take the same steps that I do in practice every day,â Partington said. “Hit him in the right place on the foot and let him flyâ¦ see where he goes.” For kicking, it was the most important point of my career. I had never kicked a basket for a win, or anything.
And Coldwater was going to let him consider how important this was, calling a time out to “freeze” him a bit.
But when they lined up. he got the perfect snap, the perfect grip and good protection from the offensive line and he pierced the ball through the posts.
“We won a game from a field goal,” Tim Goodwin said later. âHey, we’ve been on the wrong side of this a few times. We were there on the sidelines saying, “One time let’s win this thing with a field goal.” It’s a kicker’s dream, and Kevin is just an exceptional individual. He is so dedicated to everything he does. He’s spent countless hours kicking, and that’s what you dream of doing – a field goal to beat your biggest rival when the score is tied.
But to get there, Goodwin and Marion had to endure that last Coldwater practice that fizzled out on his 30-yard line.
âThey had gained momentum, but our kids weren’t going to give up,â he said. âOur secondary fought against a heckuva receiving body. We were understaffed in those positions and they played well. We tried to keep everything in front of us which allowed them to lead the peloton a lot. They have four quick receivers and a quarterback who can pitch it. But we did well.
It amounted to a battle of wills and tenacity, something both coaches recognized and appreciated. It’s MAC football, and it’s Marion vs. Coldwater football.
âFor what we went through and for those we threw out there tonight, they just fought like crazy,â beamed Goodwin, delighted almost beyond words. âIt was like the Versailles match. Win or lose our children come from playing their butt. And the children of Coldwater too. It was Coldwater-Marion.
That was all you read – what people will read on Saturday. About Kevin Partington and the greatest moment of his footballing life.
How he livedâ¦ a kicker’s dream!