Marion Local defeated Fort Loramie 24-21 in OT in a D-VII, Region 23 high school football semifinal at St. Mary’s Memorial on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Football playoffs: Marion Local rallies late, stuns Fort Loramie in OT

“It’s a big season for everybody,” gushed emerging Flyers sophomore Peyton Otte who proved key in Marion Local’s 24-21 overtime defeat of Fort Loramie in a Division VII, Region 28 high school football regional semifinal at the new Roughrider Athletic Complex on Saturday night. “This is huge.”

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That sets up an all-Midwest Athletic Conference Week 13 regional final at Wapakoneta’s Harmon Field this coming Saturday between Marion Local (10-2) and surprising New Bremen (9-3), a No. 8 last seed that crushed Lima Perry 42-14 in the other Region 28 semi at Piqua. Marion Local and New Bremen did not play in the regular season.

Peyton Otte of Marion Local (with ball) eludes Mark Seger (15) and Max Hoying (45) of Fort Loramie. Marion Local defeated Fort Loramie 24-21 in OT in a Division VII, Region 28 high school football regional semifinal at St. Marys Memorial on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

It’s only the third time New Bremen has qualified for the postseason and the deepest into the playoffs the Cardinals have ventured.

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The pressure to extend its high level of excellency has been on Marion Local all season. Nothing new about that; Marion Local has played for a small-school state championship the last eight seasons, winning six.

Peyton Otte of Marion Local (with ball) gets a block team Brandon Fleck on Mark Seger (15) of Fort Loramie. Marion Local defeated Fort Loramie 24-21 in OT in a Division VII, Region 28 high school football regional semifinal at St. Marys Memorial on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

But a mostly untested lineup and a Week 12 showdown with Fort Loramie (10-2) seemed daunting and it was. Fort Loramie, out of the Cross County Conference, had its own legacy mounting after surging into the D-VII state semifinals last season and looking to top that this year.

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Both Marion Local and Fort Loramie had common losses to Minster, which was bounced by Anna in the first round of the D-VI playoffs. Anna (11-1) will play Archbold (11-1) in a D-VI, Region 23 final at Lima Spartan Stadium on Friday.

Nick Brandewie (with ball) of Fort Loramie is taken down by Peyton Otte (4) and Trent Pleiman of Marion Local. Marion Local defeated Fort Loramie 24-21 in OT in a Division VII, Region 28 high school football regional semifinal at St. Marys Memorial on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Fort Loramie appeared to have the game won on Nate Meyer’s second touchdown run, this time a 22-yarder with 3:38 left in the fourth quarter that put the Redskins up 21-14.

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Marion Local rallied around senior quarterback Kyle Muhlenkamp, who twice converted on fourth down. Otte scored on a twisting 9-yard touchdown pass from Muhlenkamp with 1:00 left to force OT.

Dylan Heitkamp of Marion Local (with ball) gets a block from teammate Drandon Fleck. Marion Local defeated Fort Loramie 24-21 in OT in a Division VII, Region 28 high school football regional semifinal at St. Marys Memorial on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Flyers senior Alex Klosterman etched his name in program history by converting a 35-yard field goal on Marion Local’s only OT possession. Loramie went four-and-out on its following OT possession and the Flyers erupted in celebration after the Redskins’ final incomplete pass.

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“It’s a reflection of the kids and the program, the community and all of the support we’ve had,” assured Marion Local coach Tim Goodwin. “These seniors waited until their senior year to play, a lot of them. They were willing to keep working and stick with the program and here we are, going to the regional final.”

Dylan Heitkamp of Marion Local (with ball) is met by Nick Brandewie (4) and Sam Barhorst of Fort Loramie. Marion Local defeated Fort Loramie 24-21 in OT in a Division VII, Region 28 high school football regional semifinal at St. Marys Memorial on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Meyer of Loramie also scored on a 22-yard run in the first quarter to pull the teams even at 7-all. Loramie led 14-7 at halftime on Collin Moore’s 31-yard TD pass to Joel Keiser.

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Muhlenkamp’s first TD pass was seven yards to Brandon Fleck late in the third quarter that set up the fateful fourth.

Nate Meyer of Fort Loramie (with ball) draws Grant Meier (23) of Marion Local. Marion Local defeated Fort Loramie 24-21 in OT in a Division VII, Region 28 high school football regional semifinal at St. Marys Memorial on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

It was a state-title worthy showdown that unfortunately played out much too early in the playoffs.

“This is why you do it,” Loramie coach Spencer Wells said. “I was telling my wife before the game, it’s the feeling you get before these moments. I knew it was going to be a dogfight. It’s such a special group of kids. I’m so proud to be a Fort Loramie Redskin.”

Fort Loramie QB Collin Moore delivers. Marion Local defeated Fort Loramie 24-21 in OT in a Division VII, Region 28 high school football regional semifinal at St. Marys Memorial on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

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»» SOCIAL MEDIA: You should like Marc Pendleton on Facebook and Twitter

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