JO WHEAT - North Marion senior Boston Snyder scored the Huskies' go-ahead touchdown with less than six minutes remaining in Friday's play-in game at North Valley. The Knights would eventually come back to win 29-25 on a touchdown of their own in the final minute.
In a season full of late-game heroics, it’s no surprise that the North Marion football team’s last game of the season came down to the final seconds, falling 29-25 to the hosting North Valley Knights on Friday.
The Huskies (4-4, 3-1 Oregon West) faced a difficult task in traveling to Grants Pass for a 4A play-in game to take on a tough North Valley team, which was coming off its only loss of the season the week before.
The Knights (8-1, 4-1 Skyline) were the first team to get on the scoreboard on Friday, scoring on a one-yard touchdown to open the first quarter with a 7-0 lead. But every time North Valley found the endzone, North Marion was there to answer.
After a relatively quiet first quarter, the two teams exploded for four touchdowns in the second, beginning with a connection from North Marion quarterback Hunter Martin to fellow senior Tanner Scanlan on a 21-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-6.
Scanlan failed to connect on the extra point, a problem for both teams, going just 3-of-7 on points after touchdown.
North Valley responded with a 30-yard touchdown run from Austin Soler to take a 13-6 lead, but Martin and Scanlan connected yet again. Martin, who was recently honored as Oregon West Co-Player of the Year, hit Scanlan for a 64-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead back to 13-12.
The Knights were able to tack on one more score before the end of the quarter to head into halftime up 19-12.
Coming out of the half, North Marion once again got within a point of North Valley on a one-yard run from Martin to make it 19-18. North Valley was able to connect on a 32-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to take a 22-18 lead, but the Huskies soon responded to take their first lead of the game.
With 5:16 left in the game and five yards away from the endzone, Martin faked the inside handoff before giving the ball to Boston Snyder, who swept around the right side of the field to score the touchdown. This time Scanlan’s point after was good, giving the Huskies a tenuous 25-22 lead.
But the Knights had one last scoring drive up their sleeve, making a gutsy call to go for the win rather than tie the game with a field. Facing fourth and one on the North Marion five-yard line with 48 seconds left, the Knights converted for a first down instead of playing it safe and kicking a field goal.
North Valley punched it into the endzone on the next play to take a 29-25 lead, which they held onto for the win.
North Marion finished the game with almost 400 yards of offense, led by 155 passing yards and two touchdowns from Martin. Scanlan caught four passes for 144 yards and a pair of scores.
On the ground, Ammon Suchanski led the team with 100 yards, followed by 75 from Snyder and 42 from Sam Garcia, as the Huskies put up 242 yards of rushing.
“This was by far the best game that we’ve played all year,” assistant coach Keith Bennett said. “The kids gave it everything they had. The coaches couldn’t be prouder of a group of kids.”