MARION — One yard short.
Senior quarterback Marcus Orr took off for the goal line on a third-and-goal play with 14 seconds remaining. He was stopped just short of the goal line and, with no time outs, the Lions couldn’t run their field goal team out fast enough, allowing Pleasant Valley to escape Friday night with a 29-28 victory at Linn-Mar Stadium.
Despite the loss, the Lions (6-3, 4-1 Class 4A District 4) have the automatic playoff berth that goes to the district winner. Even though they finished tied with Iowa City West, Linn-Mar beat West head-to-head to earn the tiebreaker.
Friday night’s game was tied 14-14 at halftime. Linn-Mar got a pair of scoring passes from Orr while Ryan Mumey connected on a pair of scores, the second TD a 32-yarder that Ben Wilson went up and grabbed just before the halftime to tie the game.
It looked like the Spartans had control of the game in the fourth quarter. Mumey hit Matthew Meyer on an 11-yard scoring toss to give PV a 21-20 lead. The Spartans then held and forced a Linn-Mar punt with just over eight minutes to play. However, on the first play after the punt, Linn-Mar’s Cam Guenther picked off a halfback pass and returned it into Spartan territory.
The Lions cashed in with Bricen White taking it in and Orr hitting Jeron Senters on a two-point pass for a 28-20 lead with 5:07 remaining. The Spartans scored with 2:02 remaining on an 11-yard run from Caden Kipper. PV went for the win and took the lead on Mumey’s option run.
Linn-Mar started from its own 13 and drove the ball down the field, helped out by a pair of Spartan penalties. It got the ball to the 6 with 14 seconds left. Linn-Mar opted not to kick a field goal at that point.
Orr completed 25 of 39 passes for 284 yards and three scores. Will Zahradnik had nine catches for 95 yards and two scores.