Marian (Ind.) scored 13 unanswered points in the second half on Saturday afternoon at Brown Field and rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat Valparaiso 13-10.
Warren Arnold (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein H.S.) threw for 207 yards on the afternoon for Valparaiso, his highest output of the season yardage wise, but the Crusaders could not overcome nine penalties for 85 yards, including several key ones in the second half.
“We just made too many mistakes today,” head coach Stacy Adams said. “I don’t want to take anything away from Marian because they are a good football team. We need to take what happened today and learn from it.”
The Valpo defense started strong, leading to an opening field goal for the Crusaders. Matt Mancl (Neenah, Wis./Neenah H.S.) intercepted a pass on the second play of the game from scrimmage, setting the Crusader offense up at the Marian 18-yard line. Valpo drove down to the Knights four, but had to settle for a David Hamaker (Plano, Texas/West H.S.) field goal from 21 yards out.
The Crusader defense continued to shine throughout the first half, but twice the offense turned the ball over on downs in Marian territory. On one possession late in the first quarter, the Valpo had two touchdowns called back due to holding calls.
Valpo added to its lead right before halftime with an 11-play, 89-yard drive. Arnold went 5-of-6 passing on the drive and Jake Riedel (South Milwaukee, Wis./South Milwaukee H.S.) capped it with a two-yard run up the middle with just 13 seconds remaining before intermission to give the Crusaders a 10-0 lead at the break.
Marian found the scoreboard with 6:33 to play in the third quarter on a 17 yard pass over the middle from Matt Rogers to JaQuan Patilla, which was set up following a 47-yard run by William Stubbs. Adam Rundh (Aalborg, Denmark/Orjanskolan [Sweden] H.S.) blocked the extra point attempt to keep the Crusaders up by four points.
After a Valpo punt and an interference penalty allowed the Knights to start their next drive on their own 43-yard line, the visitors again drove down field. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Stubbs scored from two yards out giving Marian the lead.
The ensuing drive had Valpo stuffed on a fourth-and-one for the third failed fourth down conversion of the game. The Knights then drove down field and appeared poised for the end zone yet again when Anthony Curry (Merrillville, Ind./Merrillville H.S.) stripped Ryan Ferguson of the football at the goal line and Kyle Himmelwright (Coplay, Pa./Whitehall H.S.) recovered in the end zone.
Valpo could not move the football and had to punt, only to force a Marian punt midway through the fourth quarter. However, a running into the kicker penalty extended the drive, allowing the Knights to take more than five minutes off of the clock.
The Crusaders took over at their own 20 following a punt at the 2:23 mark, and drove near midfield before Arnold’s first interception of the season ended the game the game with just over a minute to play.
“Our defense played well enough to give us a chance to win,” Adams added. “Special teams had some good returns too. We just didn’t get the job done.”
Stubbs finished the game with 17 carries for 140 yards as Marian (3-1) carried 48 times on the afternoon for 270 yards. Steve Ogden (Wauwatosa, Wis./West H.S.) led Valpo receivers with eight catches for 97 yards while Ross Wiemer (Burlington, Wis./Burlington H.S.) had 59 yards receiving and another 44 on the ground.
Valparaiso (1-2) will have a week off to regroup before returning to action on October 4 as the Crusaders begin Pioneer Football League play at San Diego. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. CDT with all the action carried live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network and online at www.valpoathletics.com.
Game Notes: The all-time series is now tied 1-1 … Arnold moved into eighth place on Valpo’s career total offense list with 3,574 yards rushing and passing in four seasons passing Cortie Wilson (1977-1979) … he is just seven yards shy of Gordon Helms (1953-1955) for seventh place … Ogden moved into fourth place on the all-time receiving chart pasing Kevin Knutson (2001-2004) with 2,332 career yards … Ryan Koepke (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead H.S.) surpassed the 200 tackle mark for his career and now has 202 … Valpo allowed just 87 yards passing and through three games is averaging its opponents just 48.7 yards per game through the air … Mancl’s interception was the first of his career … Rundh’s blocked kick was the first of his career … Hamaker’s field goal was his first career points.