WATERTOWN, Wis. – The taste of defeat was bitter for Maranatha in their 34-20 loss to Macalester on Saturday, yet it also was an encouraging sign. The Crusaders had become accustomed to defeat in the past, but now carry disappointment over a game they could have won.
The first half featured a shootout between the Crusaders and Macalester. Senior quarterback Phil Littrell (Valrico, Fla.) marched the offense down the field on the opening drive completing a five yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Logan Beer (Atlanta, Ga.) for a 6-0 lead after a failed point after attempt.
Macalester responded quickly on the next drive with a 58-yard touchdown pass on the first play from the line of scrimmage to make the score 7-6.
Beer and Dersch left the game later with injuries leaving the responsibility to younger players to step up to the plate. Sophomore receiver Joel Kobosh answered that call with a monster 11 catch, 159 yard and one touchdown performance.
Littrell took over the next drive with passes of 22 and a 16-yard pass to Kobosh propelling the Crusaders to the one yard line. Junior running back Ethan Lane (Atlanta, Ga.) punched in the score for a Maranatha 13-10 lead.
Macalester delivered a dagger on the ensuing kickoff for a 97-yard return for a touchdown with 2:35 left on the clock before the half. The Crusaders did not lose heart though, responding with a 56-yard touchdown strike to Kobosh to end the half with Maranatha up 20-17.
Macalester pulled away in the second half after being held in check for over three quarters by the stingy Maranatha defense. The defense made key crucial plays during the game to end drives and always gave the offense a chance to score. One of those plays featured Ethan Rosen forcing the quarterback to throw an interception to senior cornerback Jason Garrison (Watertown, Wis.).
Another was junior cornerback Brian Puerling (Salem, Ore.) breaking up several Macalester passes also stalling drives.
Junior Ethan Lane finished the game with 14 tackles- three for a loss and a half sack. Ethan Rosen and Bobby O’Brien also played well with 11 and 10 tackles respectively.
The offense was clicking as Littrell finished with 307 yards passing and two touchdowns, one of which went to Kobosh for 56 yards. Beer had 85 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions before he left with an injury.
Coach Peterson stated, “This group does a good job on focusing and fixing every mistake and they really did not want to lose this game so I anticipate practices being intense these next two weeks.” Coach Peterson was also thankful for the depth of this year’s squad saying, “We have solid depth at every position which is a change from last year when we had to substitute starters from different positions whereas now we can plug in a backup.”
The football team can take heart even after a disappointing loss knowing that they could very well have won the game. They are not satisfied though with the loss and will look to avenge it when they face Wisconsin Lutheran in their first Northern Athletics Conference game.
That game will be played at WLC at 1:00 p.m.