By Kelsie Hoitomt
BOYCEVILLE — The football season ended at home for the Bulldogs last Friday after they lost to the Marathon Red Raiders 14-12.
The Raiders came to Boyceville from the Marawood Conference with a 4-3 record behind Edgar, Auburndale and Stratford.
They were seeded fifth behind the fourth seeded Bulldogs in Division 6. The Raiders’ victory has them now playing number one Athens this Friday night.
The Level 1 Playoff game started with the Raiders in possession of the ball with Jake Lake sending the kick off.
The Raiders gained just nine yards in three plays, which forced them to punt from their own 42.
Logan McAbee-Thomas returned the punt to their own 21 yard line and then Brett Boda picked up 13 yards, which put the ball on the 34.
Hunter Anderson’s first pass of the game fell incomplete, but he followed up with a toss to Tyler Draeger, which was good for 17 yards.
The reception put the Bulldogs in Raider territory and gave them a first down at the 46.
From there, McAbee-Thomas ran the ball for a gain of two and then Anderson connected with Boda for a five yard reception, which brought up third and three.
A defensive penalty was called, which gave the Bulldogs the first down at the 34. However, their run at the ball would fall short after a pass fell incomplete and Anderson was sacked.
Boda punted the ball away from the 39 and the Raiders took over at the 21.
The Raiders took over possession at 4:52 in the first quarter and they ran the clock down to 13 seconds in seven plays.
They started at their own 20 and punted the ball from their 27 after losing 30 yards from three penalty calls.
The punt was returned by Draeger to the Bulldog’s 41 yard line before the quarter ended. He carried the ball for four yards to start the second quarter.
Anderson connected with Mitch Leach, but there was no gain so at fourth down and eight to go, Boda punted the ball.
This set the Raiders in motion for their drive to the end zone and the first score of the game.
Marathon dominated the clock as they took over at 11:08 and then at 2:47 quarterback Kellen Vetter ran the ball in for the touchdown.
They started from their own 37 and in 13 plays they were sitting at the one yard line. After the touchdown, Ethan Seubert carried the ball in for the two-point conversion, which put the score at 8-0.
Jake McIntyre returned the kick off to his own 36 and then McAbee-Thomas picked up a gain of five. However, a false start backed them up five yards and put the chains at third down and ten.
From the 36, Anderson fired a pass, but it fell incomplete so Boda took to the field for the punt.
The Raiders took over on their own 40, but the ball quickly changed hands after Anderson intercepted the pass from Vetter.
With 30 seconds left in the first half, the Bulldogs scrambled to make a big play, but the run by McAbee-Thomas came up as a two yard gain as the clock hit zero.
Out of the break, the Bulldogs received the kick and started on their own 35. Draeger took the hand off and broke through for an 11 yard gain and a first down.
A penalty backed them up five yards, but a pass from Anderson to Leach redeemed them as they picked up 11 yards and a first down.
Draeger and Anderson carried the ball for five yards and then they were given an extra five on a defensive penalty.
From the 37, Anderson connected with McAbee-Thomas for a seven yard reception. He and Draeger inched the ball forward a few more yards before another penalty on the Raiders put them at the 19.
With the Bulldogs creeping towards the end zone, the Raiders put on the pressure, which forced Anderson to throw two incomplete passes.
They went from being on the 19 with a first down to sitting at fourth down and 15 from the 24.
The ball was turned over on downs at the 24 after nearly eight minutes of play from the Bulldogs.
The Raiders ran the ball six yards before Vetter completed a pass to Seubert for a gain of seven. They ran two more plays before the quarter ended.
Marathon had the ball at their own 49 as the fourth quarter started and they were forced to punt from the 46 at fourth down and four.
Draeger ran the punt return to the 18, but then was tackled on the following play for a loss of a yard.
Anderson fired to Boda for a 18 yard reception, which gave them the first down at their own 35.
The run by McAbee-Thomas was stopped so Anderson took to the air on the following play, which resulted in a 29 yard reception to Boda.
They advanced further into Raider territory after a run by Brady Schutts put them on the 33.
Anderson took the snap, but it was fumbled so he scrambled and let the ball fly towards the end zone where it was caught by the finger tips of Boda for the Bulldog’s first touchdown.
Their two-point conversion was no good so the Bulldogs trailed by two points with five minutes left to play in the game.
The two point difference turned into an eight point deficit after the Raiders marched down the field in three minutes to score a touchdown by Seubert from the one yard line.
The extra point by Alex Robbins was blocked so they led 14-6 with 2:58 left to play.
With time dwindling down, the Bulldogs had to make a big play in order to stay alive.
They started their drive from the Raiders’ 40 and moved up six yards on a pass from Anderson to Leach.
From the 46, Anderson scrambled to the side and then with an opening, he took off down the field for a 54 yard touchdown.
They were down 14-12 and needed a two-point conversion to tie the game. They set up in a pass play formation, but the defensive coverage had Anderson taking the ball in for the keeper.
He was stopped just shy of the goal line, which was the game ending play as the Raiders held onto the ball for the kneel down as the clock ticked down to zero.
The Bulldogs finished the 2014 season with 229 offensive yards, which included 126 passing and 103 rushing.
Anderson had eight completions with four going to Boda for 85 yards, two going to Leach for 17, one to Draeger for 17 and one to McAbee-Thomas for seven.
On the ground, Anderson himself led the way with 58 yards on seven carries. McAbee-Thomas followed with 20 yards on nine carries, Boda had 13 yards on one carry and Schutts had four yards on one carry as well.
As for the Raiders, they finished with 129 rushing yards and 80 receiving. Seubert led on the ground with 91 and Preston Wirkus led in reception yards with 42.