Coming into the final week of the regular season, the Mattoon football team needed one more win to assure themselves a playoff spot, with a loss they would be on the bubble and it would depend on their amount of playoff points.
Mattoon hosted the Marion Wildcats of the South Seven on Friday night. Marion finished second in the Conference and needed a win to be in the playoff consideration.
Marion started the scoring in the first quarter. A 21 yard pass from Jake Schmid to Jaden Lacy put the Wildcats up 7-0 early on.
Mattoon was forced to punt on their next possession. A punt that landed inside the 20 yard line was taken by Xavier Cambric who ran back 89 yards for the score and put Marion up 14-0 in the first quarter.
The Mattoon offense stopped the run at the end of the first quarter from a Julian Gittens one yard run to cut the lead in half, 14-7 at the end of the quarter.
Late in the second quarter, Nick Poorman found Alec Raboin on a 12 yard pass then Gittens got the ball in his hands and went 75 yards for the Mattoon score and tied the game at 14.
With less than 30 seconds left in the first half, Mattoon kicker Quinn Camfield came on to kick a 35 yard field goal. Camfield’s kick was good and Mattoon had their first lead of the game and had the lead heading into the locker room, 17-14.
The Mattoon lead did not last long in the second half though. Just a few minutes in, Camden Hillard ran in from 65 yards out and Ben McLaughlin ran in the two point conversion to put Marion back up, 22-17.
Mattoon had a quick answer though. Gittens found the endzone just 16 seconds later on an 84 yard run and the Green Wave regained the lead, 24-22 early in the third quarter.
Another quick answer, this time from Marion. Just over a minute after the Mattoon touchdown, Hillard ran in another from a long way out, this time from 66 yards. Schmid’s pass to Lacy was a success on the two point conversion, the Wildcats led 30-24 in the third.
The scoring continued, just over a minute later again, Poorman found Alec Raboin on a 62 yard pass for the touchdown. Camfield’s kick was good and Mattoon took the lead again, 31-30.
Once again, almost two minutes later, Cambric found the endzone from a 53 yard pass from Schmid. The run failed on the two point conversion, but another lead change. Marion led 36-31 after the high scoring third quarter.
Marion scored early in the fourth quarter, this time on a short, six yard run from Cambric. In the fourth, Marion led 43-31.
Mattoon answered quickly again to give themselves a chance while trailing by two possessions in the fourth.
Gittens took it in from two yards out to trail 43-38 early in the fourth.
After a break in the scoring for a little bit, Marion’s Cambric found himself in the endzone once again. He went in from three yards out to make the score 50-38, and that would end up as the final.
With the loss, Mattoon finishes the regular season at 5-4 and is in consideration for the playoffs, it will depend on their playoff points now. The Green Wave finished 4-1 in the Apollo, which was good for second place behind Mt. Zion.
With the win, Marion becomes playoff eligible at 5-4 also. The Wildcats finished second in their conference with a 4-1 record.
Both teams will have to wait and see if they get in with enough playoff points.
Greg talked to coach Johnson after the game, check it out here: