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COLUMBIA, Ky. — Southeastern ended up on the short end of a high-scoring playoff game at Lindsey Wilson.
Despite 613 yards and 36 first downs, the Fire fell in the NAIA Football Championship Series first round 63-49 Saturday to conclude the season at 8-2.
Quarterback Jonathan Pearce completed 26 of his 30 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns, plus ran for an additional 116 on 17 carries and a score.
Freshman running back Kamario Bell answered LWC’s opening drive TD with a four-yard touchdown run to tie the game with 9:08 left in the first quarter.
The teams went back and forth, exchanging scores until Pearce’s four-yard TD run with 4:25 left in the half to take a 28-21 advantage. However, the Blue Raiders (11-0) responded with a 10-play, 73-yard drive capped off by one of Blake Ingleton’s five touchdown runs to tie the game at 28 at the half.
LWC forced a three-and-out to start the second half, and Ingleton, who rushed for 241 yards on 25 carries found the end zone from 14 yards out to put the hosts up 35-28.
Pearce found Matthew Craig two-and-a-half minutes later to knot the game at 35. Again, the Blue Raiders responded with a TD pass, which was countered by another Bell TD run with 58 seconds left in the third to tie the contest at 42.
Lindsey Wilson then took control of the game by returning the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, then went 91 yards on 11 plays with another Ingleton TD run to lead 56-42 with 8:34 to play.
The Fire made it a one-score game with 5:23 left in the fourth, when Jarrell Reynolds hit paydirt from three yards out, making it 56-49. Then, the defense forced the Blue Raiders to go three-and-out, keyed by a sack by Blade Denmark on 3rd and 8.
SEU drove to the Blue Raiders’ 43, facing 4th and 1, but the Fire were held to a loss. The Blue Raiders then got a second 50-yard TD run from Ingleton to put the game away.
Reynolds finished with 97 yards and two touchdown runs.
LaQuvionte Gonzalez was the game’s leading receiver with eight catches for 166 yards and a 56-yard touchdown grab.
The Blue Raiders totaled 540 yards of offense, with 282 on the ground.
Josh Schulte recorded a game-high 19 tackles with 1.5 for loss. Classmate Will Tillo was also in double figures with 12 stops and 1.5 for loss.