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Champlin Park won the game, then lost it, then won it again. All in the last 75 seconds of the fourth quarter.
Bryce Marquardt caught a 54-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Garrison with 33.4 seconds left and Sam Mouanoutoua booted the extra point to lift host Champlin Park to a jaw-dropping 28-27 victory over Blaine.
Marquardt’s big catch came only 20 seconds after Blaine appeared to have completed an amazing rally. The Bengals battled back from a 21-0 deficit to take a 27-21 lead on a 33-yard, fourth-down touchdown pass from Alex Copa to Connor Spurbeck.
But Champlin Park (4-2) went 63 yards on two plays, capped by Garrison picking up a fumbled snap and finding Marquardt streaking down the middle of the field.
“All I could think about was 'catch it,’” Marquardt said. “That was for the game. I couldn’t drop it. It was homecoming.”
Blaine (3-3) came back once more, advancing to the Rebels 27-yard line with 4.5 seconds left. Zach Wright’s 44-yard field-goal try into the wind fell just short.
It was a wild ending to game that began with Blaine fumbling on its first play from scrimmage. Champlin Park took advantage, going up 7-0 on a weaving 14-yard run by Michael Sales.
Blaine’s giveaway problems became epidemic. Of the Bengals’ six first-half possessions, four ended with turnovers.
Meanwhile, Champlin Park leaned on Sales, who rushed 16 times for 93 yards and scored three touchdowns.
“Our run game was going as well as it has ever gone,” Marquardt said.
Champlin Park’s Garrison fumbled on the Rebels’ opening drive of the second half, flipping a switch for Blaine.
Copa scored on the ensuing drive, cutting the lead to 21-6. With Copa leading the charge, the Bengals scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, including an 85-yard, 14-play drive in the final two minutes for the go-ahead touchdown.
“I’ve never been a part of a game like that,” Garrison said. “It looked like we had lost, but we never quit. That was amazing.”