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Wildcats survive strong Marceline push to advance to District 4 championship game

Behind 223 yards rushing and three touchdowns from running back Carlos Cotto, the Grand River Conference Milan Wildcats defeated the Marceline Tigers 26-21 on Friday night, in a Class 1, District 4 semifinal broadcast on KTTN FM 92.3.

The top-seeded Wildcats, playing in front of the home fans at Cal Hubbard Field, opened the scoring on a 10 yard touchdown run by Cotto with 7:16 remaining in the first quarter.  Behind 7-0, the visiting Tigers tied the score on the ensuing drive, with Stearns scoring on a 9 yard run with 1:53 to go in the quarter.  Both extra points (Milan by Gonzalez and Marceline by Quinn) were made.

Milan snatched momentum midway through the second quarter, with Cotto scoring on a 16 yard run with 9:44 to go in the half, with the PAT pushing the lead to 14-7.  Following a short Marceline punt that gave Milan the ball on the Tiger line of midfield, Milan scored against, with a 22 yard touchdown pass from Hunter Reed to Keaton Weter pushing the advantage to 20-7, as the extra point missed.  

Marceline gained back a piece of momentum heading into the locker room, as Quinn, who finished the game with 24 carries for 184 yards, scored on a 30 yard trap play with 2:41 remaining until the break, leaving the halftime score at 20-14.

Milan pushed the lead out to 12 points (26-14) with 8:21 remaining in the third quarter, as Cotto found space through the right side of his offensive line.  Tom Johnson had the call on KTTN: 

The storyline of Marceline staying close continued late into the third quarter, as a 5 yard touchdown run by Thomas, with the Quinn PAT, cut the lead to 26-21.

Marceline, down 26-21 in the fourth quarter, had a pair of promising drives with hopes of gaining the lead for the first time.  However, the Wildcat defense, which bent throughout the game on the strength of the Marceline offense, held firm to preserve the Wildcats (10-1) tenth straight victory.  Marceline, in its last season as a member of the Lewis & Clark Conference, finishes 7-4.  The Tigers lost their first three games of the season before ripping off seven straight wins heading into the district semifinal round at Milan. 

Tom Johnson caught up with victorious head coach Mark Cole following the contest: 

Milan will host the Penney (Hamilton) Hornets in the Class 1, District 4 championship game this Friday night (November 17th) at 7 o’clock, with coverage on KTTN FM 92.3 and KGOZ FM 101.7 beginning at 6:30.  The winner moves into the state semifinal round on the weekend of November 24th and 25th.

Penney, the #3 seed in District 4, won at Westran in the semifinal round by a score of 40-22.

Other scores from playoff football on Friday, November 10th: 

Class 1, District 3: 

North Platte 46, Crest Ridge 12

Windsor 38, Skyline 28

Class 2, District 7: 

Bowling Green 66, South Shelby 50

Class 2, District 8:

East Buchanan 21, Mid-Buchanan 0 

Class 3, District 8:

St. Pius X 41, Maryville 13

Class 4, District 8: 

Kearney 29, Smithville 13

8-Man, District 4: 

Braymer 56, Southwest Livingston 48

8-Man, District 5:

Plattsburgh 62, St. Joseph Christian 26

8-Man, District 6: 

South Holt 50, East Atchison 6

8-Man, District 7: 

Worth County 56, Platte Valley 20\

8-Man, District 8: 

Schuyler County 56, North Shelby 40