Mary Hardin-Baylor, which has reached the Division III championship game the past two seasons, held off St. John’s 21-18 in the quarterfinals on Saturday in Belton, Texas.
Mary Hardin-Baylor (13-0), which won for the 42nd time in the past 43 games, advanced to the semifinals, where it will play Wisconsin-Whitewater. The loss was the first of the season for the Johnnies (12-1).
The Johnnies, who trailed 14-3 entering the fourth quarter, scored with 1 minute, 49 seconds to pull within 21-18 and then recovered an onside kick at their 48-yard line. The Johnnies got a first down at the Crusaders 25, but an interception by the Crusaders’ Jefferson Fritz in the end zone stopped the Johnnies’ comeback. The Crusaders ran out the final 1:26.
The Johnnies scored early in the fourth quarter on a 30-yard pass from Jackson Erdmann to Will Gillach. Erdmann ran for the two-point conversion to get the Johnnies within 14-11.
The Crusaders responded with a four-play, 72-yard drive to take a 21-11 lead with 10:32 remaining.
Erdmann passed for 418 yards and two touchdowns as the Johnnies outgained the Crusaders 465-315. The Crusaders defense had three interceptions and four sacks.
Wisconsin-Whitewater 26, Bethel 12: The host Warhawks took advantage of two Bethel turnovers to build an early 16-point lead en route to the quarterfinal victory over the Royals.
The Warhawks (13-0) turned two interceptions in the final five minutes of the first quarter into rushing touchdowns by Ronny Ponick to take a 16-0 lead. The Warhawks extended their lead to 23-0 in the second quarter before the Royals (11-2) got two touchdown runs from Jaran Roste to pull within 23-12 at halftime.