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Fulton 4th-quarter rally ends Irish state dreams

For the second week in a row Catholic allowed it’s opponent to get back into the game in the fourth quarter. The only difference was this week it was too much to withstand.

The Fulton Falcons spoiled Catholic’s perfect season with an 18-13 shocker in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state football playoffs Friday, Nov. 17, at Catholic’s Blaine Stadium.

The Irish finish the season with a 12-1 record, but well short of their ultimate goal of a state championship. “This is what we played for our whole high school career,” Irish senior Harrison Smith said. “Going out like this isn’t what we wanted to do.”

For three quarters it looked like Catholic was going to move on, but for the second consecutive week a fourth quarter letdown allowed the opposition to get back in the game. Unlike last week’s 27-21 win versus Austin-East, the Falcons didn’t allow KCHS to escape so easily.

“We should have won the game, they got a couple of breaks at the end, and we kind of let it go,” Smith said. “We didn’t move the ball as well as we did in the first half.”

Led by senior Brian Hartmann’s 87 first half rushing yards and two touchdowns, the Irish took a commanding 13-0 lead at halftime. Catholic gained 12 first downs to three for Fulton (12-1).

With just under 10 minutes remaining in the game, Fulton put Jock Stinson into the game at quarterback. The sophomore, who missed the previous four games because of an ankle injury suffered in the first match-up between these two teams, was lights out.

Stinson completed his first two passes, the second a 45-yard score to Victor Smith to make the score 13-6 with 8:49 left after the failed two-point conversion.

After a three-and-out on three consecutive running plays, the Irish were forced to punt. Fulton senior Dennis Freeney returned the punt 40 yards to the KCHS 16.

After four straight runs by senior standout Dennis Rogan, the Falcons got in the end zone from three yards out to close the deficit 13-12 with 4:42 remaining after the failed two-point conversion.

The Irish again failed to produce any offense as they went three-and-out on three running plays for the second drive in a row. After an 8-yard punt, Fulton was in prime position to take the lead as they took over on its own 48-yard line with 2:11 remaining.

Stinson ran for three yards on first down then threw to Rogan for 19 more. Catholic’s Smith was called for pass interference putting the Falcons at the 16 with 1:06 remaining. After an incomplete pass and a wide-receiver screen for no-yards, Fulton was faced with third-and-10. Stinson found Freeney in the corner of the end zone and the Falcons took the 18-13 lead with 39 seconds left after the failed two-point conversion.


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