Football: #3 Mount Union Beats #6 John Carroll, 36-28; Raiders in NCAA Semis for 20th Straight Year

Logan Nemeth (photo by Dan Poel, OhioSI.com)
Logan Nemeth (photo by Dan Poel, OhioSI.com)

ALLIANCE, Ohio -- No. 3 ranked Mount Union advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Playoffs for a 20th consecutive year with a 36-28 win over No. 6 ranked John Carroll in a quarterfinal game Saturday at Mount Union Stadium.

The Purple Raiders (12-0) win their 84th consecutive home game and play No. 4 ranked Wesley (Del.) next week in the semifinals at a time and location to be determined.

Quarterback Kevin Burke (Westlake/Lakewood St. Edward) threw four touchdown passes as he went 20-for-37 for 297 yards but it was a pair of runs late in the fourth quarter that got first downs and allowed the Raiders to run out the clock.

Roman Namdar (Southlake, Texas/Carroll) had a game-high 123 yards receiving with a touchdown, Sherman Wilkinson (Kettering/Fairmont) had two catches both for touchdowns and Luc Meacham (Toledo/Toledo Central Catholic) caught the other touchdown.

Logan Nemeth (McBain, Mich./McBain) had a game-high 60 yards with score on the ground for the Raiders.

The Mount Union defense, rated No. 1 in the nation, held John Carroll (11-2) to its second lowest offensive output of the season and sacked quarterback Mark Myers four times.  Myers had been sacked just six times on the season coming into the game.

Safety Joshua Scott (Hamilton/Fairfield) and linebacker Jonathan Gonell (Pembroke Pines, Fla./University School) each had 11 stops while defensive back Tre Jones (Twinsburg/Twinsburg) had seven stops, three pass breakups and a sack.

Myers finished 31-of-55 passing for 362 yards with three touchdown passes -- two of those to Zach Strippy.  Marshall Howell had 119 yards receiving including a 75-yard TD catch.  Tommy Michals rushed for 35 yards on the ground after rushing for 182 yards in the regular season game against the Raiders.

Mount Union jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on a 13-yard TD pass from Burke to Namdar and an 18-yard Nemeth touchdown run.

Michals has a two-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter to close the gap to 14-7. On the ensuing drive the Raiders had gotten into the Blue Streak red zone when a Mount Union fumble was returned all the way back to its 11-yard line and six plays later Myers tied the game on a one-yard TD pass to Strippy.

Mount Union answered with just under three minutes left in the quarter as Wilkinson made an athletic catch in the end zone on a 22-yard Burke pass but John Carroll came right back and tied it again 16 seconds later as Myers hit Howell on a 75-yard scoring pass.

Burke found Wilkinson again this time from 26 yards out with just over a minute before halftime and the Raiders took a 28-21 lead at the break.

The defense led the Raiders in the third quarter as the unit held John Carroll to 48 total yards including minus-four yards on the ground.  

Late in the quarter, John Carroll was punting from its own end zone when the snap sailed under the punter that resulted in a safety and made it 30-21.

Mount Union took the free kick and drove 45 yards to score again as Burke found Meacham on a five-yard pass.

John Carroll rallied again as Myers hit Strippy on a three-yard touchdown pass with just under seven minutes to play.  The Blue Streaks got the ball back one more time -- on its own 30 with 4:58 to play -- but managed to go minus-one yard in three plays and then punted the ball back to the Raiders, who ran out the clock.