Herald Staff Report

OTTAWA, Ill. — Fulton survived a furious second-half comeback by Ottawa Marquette and held on for a 41-38 victory Friday in Big Rivers Conference football.

“It was a nice win,” Fulton coach Patrick Lower said. “The first thing I told our kids was in the Big Rivers you’ll take a win any way you can. It got ugly in the second half, a scoring fest.”

Brian Zahnle’s 87-yard kickoff return after Marquette tied the game 7-7 in the second quarter led the Steamers to a 20-point halftime lead. Tyler Renkes, who passed for 345 yards, added a pair of touchdown passes before halftime, one to Zahnle, the other to Brandon Schneider.

“They scored to get the momentum back, then Zahnle’s kickoff return got the momentum back for us,”Lower said. “We finished the half strong with a 27-7 lead.”

But Marquette made things interesting after halftime, pulling to within 41-38. It might have been closer, but the Steamers blocked three extra-point kicks.

The Steamers then preserved the victory when Matt Hartman recorded a sack of Zak Worsley and keep him in bounds, allowing time to expire with the Crusaders inside the Fulton 40-yard line.

“They got a fire under them and kept crawling back and crawling back,” Lower said. “It got to 41-38, then time just ran out on them.”

Robbie Dunn and Blake Poundstone each had more than 220 yards rushing to lead the Crusaders.

This Week's Circulars