Marinette quarterback Marcus Maguire sheds a New London tackle attempt in the first half Friday at Higley Stadium. EagleHerald/Jody Korch
Marinette quarterback Marcus Maguire sheds a New London tackle attempt in the first half Friday at Higley Stadium.
EagleHerald/Jody Korch
MARINETTE - Marinette's senior sendoff turned from joy to not-again dismay Friday night.

New London rallied for a 27-26 Bay Conference football win at rainy Higley Stadium.

The difference was a third-and-9 running play by junior tailback Connor Hoell, who burst through a hole, cut outside and raced 72 yards for a touchdown with 9:20 remaining. A conversion pass fell incomplete, but the Bulldogs regained the lead and had the confidence to hold it.

"Third-and-long, a touchdown on a simple toss play," Marinette coach Andy Walters said. "Our missed opportunities, the opportunities that we gave away, our lack of execution on stuff we did all year. It was collective. You make that many mistakes, you're not gonna beat anybody."

Austin Mahlik's 32-yard field goal try sailed just left of the uprights with 2:14 remaining. The Marines had two time outs left and one final chance to get the ball back, but Tyler Raschke's 22-yard run sealed their fate.

"It's been a tough season for us, but we found a way to make a big play," New London coach Marc Marsh said.

The Marines didn't finish what they started. One play after Alec Greenlund's fumble recovery, quarterback Marcus Maguire lofted a pretty 39-yard corner route pass to Jake Holley for a touchdown. Mahlik kicked the first of two extra points, and the Marines led 7-0 with 31.3 seconds in the first quarter.

Marinette burned a blitz with a 39-yard screen pass to Colton Dessart. Maguire's 9-yard run set up a 1-yard TD plunge by senior Aaron Benson, and Marinette led 14-0 with 6:55 in the half.

Raschke's 15-yard TD run with 3:50 in the half cut the Marine lead to 14-6. Marinette blocked the extra point try.

The final minutes of the half were wild and wide open. On third-and-23, Maguire hit Brian Klumb on a fly pattern for a 77-yard scoring pass with 2:54 in the half.

Just 21 seconds later, Jacob Thomas caught a 65-yard TD pass. Rashke ran in the conversion points, and New London was within 20-14.

New London pounced on the ensuing squib kick, but Marine defensive back Adam Behrens ripped the ball away from Nicholas Thomas for an interception. But Thomas picked off a pass seconds later.

In the first half, Maguire completed seven of 11 passes for 196 yards, but the 70 rushing yards were a bad sign. New London limited the Marines to 140 on the ground, and the Bulldogs gashed the Marines for 253 rushing yards and 454 yards overall.

"We were a little surprised at how well they passed, but we said it was gonna come down to stopping the run," Marsh said.

New London took a 21-20 lead on its second possession of the second half. A 45-yard pass from Hunter Zaddack to Jacob Thomas set up Hoell's 15-yard TD run.

Kolby Garza's fumble recovery set up the Marines at the New London 19. Caylubb Maske ran for 18 yards. Benson, a tight end/defensive end who moved to the backfield for short-yardage siguations for his final high school game, scored on another 1-yard run. The pass fell incomplete, but Marinette led 26-21 with 3:14 in the third quarter.

Both teams finished 2-7.

"Proud of that senior class," Walters said. "They put a lot of time in. Hopefully they're able to walk away with some positive things from our program that they can use for life. Hopefully our younger kids use this season as motivation and learn from it."