Boys Varsity Football · Braves fall to Mishawaka Marian, 35-7, in Sectional Championship

7 Maconaquah High School
35 Mishaawaka Marian
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Maconaquah High School vs Mishaawaka Marian
7 35
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2 7   -
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The host Mishawaka Marian Knights jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter Friday night in the Sectional 27 championship and never looked back in grabbing a 35-7 victory over the Maconaquah Braves. It was the Knights, now 8-4, fourth straight sectional title. The Braves, meanwhile, finished the year with a 9-3 mark, tying the school record for most wins in a season set by the 1973 Braves who finished 9-1.
Coach Austin Colby’s Braves controlled the clock for over 35 minutes, but fell victim to Marian’s big-play TD’s and could never recover. After taking the opening kickoff and eating up over half of the first quarter, the Braves were forced to punt and the Knights took over at their own 28. Malcom Anderson raced 72 yards to paydirt on Marian’s first play from scrimmage.
Maconaquah’s next possession stalled at its own 20 and a blocked punt was returned for another Knight score and it was 14-0 with 2:54 left in the opening period. Marian had
the ball for a total of 16 seconds in the first quarter and owned a 14-0 lead.
Maconaquah never flinched and put together 21-play, 80-yard TD drive on its next possession that brought the large Brave following to its feet and cut the deficit to 14-7 when Jared Blake scored from three yards out and Richie Leary added the PAT kick. The drive ate up 9:30 of clock. Leary finished the season without a miss, hitting on 25 straight PAT kicks and both of his field goal attempts.
Trailing 14-7, at the half, the Braves executed a perfect onside kick to open the third period and Braiden Walton’s recovery at the Knight 35 pumped new life into Colby’s squad. After getting a first down, the potential-tying drive stalled at the 25 and Marian took over on downs.
Taking over on its own 25, the Knights covered the 75 yards in a little over three minutes, converted three third-down plays along the way and took a 21-7 lead midway through the quarter. It ballooned to 28-7 on their next possession when they connected on a 74-yard touchdown pass.
Marian took advantage of a Brave turnover late in the game to put its final points on the board with five minutes left in the contest.
Maconaquah, which had previously set school records for most points in a season and most first downs in a season, once again relied on its bruising ground game. Paxton Kintner, Zac Straub, Cole Wininger, Nick Davis, Garrett Spohn, RJ Beam and Adam Bowman opened holes all night for running backs Blake and Carter Little. Blake led Maconaquah with 106 yards on 29 carries, while Little added 94 yards on 28 totes.
Little became only the ninth player (the first sophomore) in school history to rush for 1000 yards in a season. Blake finished the 2018 campaign with 912 yards.
Defensively, Kintner led the Braves in tackles and added his name to the record books.
The senior linebacker set a new school mark for most solo tackles in a season and finished the year as Mac’s leading tackler.