By Joseph Hayes
It was an instant classic.
Fitting for the 75th meeting between the teams.
With under a minute to play, it appeared Marine City would have no chance.
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Yet moments later, the Mariners had pulled off a stunning comeback, one that will surely have people talking in the years to come.
After surrendering the lead to Marysville by giving up a one-yard touchdown run to D’Marco Singleton with 56 seconds left to play, Marine City drove all of the way back down the field with under a minute remaining only to recapture the lead with seconds left to play.
With their backs against the wall, Marine City sophomore quarterback Jeffrey Heaslip connected with receiver Charles Tigert on a 50-yard bomb down the Mariners sideline.
That would eventually set up a 6-yard pass from Heaslip to Anthony Rentzel with 11 seconds remaining that led to the Mariners 24-21 victory over the Vikings.
The win keeps the Mariners (5-0) undefeated, while helping them secure the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division title.
Vikings start fast
The Marysville Vikings couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. Literally.
Marine City fumbled on the first play from scrimmage and Marysville recovered and would score on its first play from scrimmage.
That’s when Singleton would scamper 34-yards on a run to give Marysville a 7-0 advantage that would hold onto halftime.
After opening the second half scoring on a field goal to pull within 7-3, the Mariners took their first lead after a big Marysville mistake.
The Vikings fumbled on their own 16-yard line midway through the third quarter, while leading 7-3.
Tigert would then score on a 16-yard run and Marine City had its first lead of the game at 10-7, with 4:43 left in the third quarter.
Fourth quarter fireworks
The Mariners 10-7 lead would hold up until LeMarcus Lee scored for Marysville on a 4-yard run to give the Vikings a 14-10 lead with 10:17 remaining.
But Heaslip found Tigert on a 63-yard touchdown pass and the Mariners answered right back and led, 17-14, with 9:16 remaining.
The teams continued jockeying for the advantage the remainder of the game.
Marine City appeared to be in full control with under five minutes remaining. They had driven all of the way down the field and were in position to score before fumbling on the Marysville 19-yard-line with 4:42 remaining.
The Vikings recovered and Meier found Larry Smafield on a 58-yard pass to set up Singleton’s 1-yard run with under a minute to play.
That gave the Vikings a 21-17 advantage and set up the drama of the Mariners final possession.