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MHSAA Football Season Comes to an End at Ford Field

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Ford Field in Detroit was rocking all weekend long!

DETROIT, MI – 12/1/2014 – Well the 2014 season came to an end Saturday night in the heart of Detroit’s Ford Field.  Some games weren’t even close, while others (as it should be) were close games right down to the end.  Whether you listened to the local broadcasts on the radio, or caught the games on Fox Sports Detroit, you could feel the excitement as each kid took the field, some for the last time regardless of the outcome.  We saw some historical streaks come to an end, a revenge-filled grudge-match, and a lot of debate on the fairness of the MHSAA participants.  Here were the results from this weekend’s festivities:

DIVISION-I – Clarkston Wolves

The Clarkston Wolves came away with their second consecutive championship under head coach Kurt Richardson.  One year after knocking off Detroit Catholic Central 32-14, they had a little tougher time defeating Saline this time around, as they one by one possession, 33-25.  Clarkston finished their season 15-0, and pushed their impressive D-I win streak to 28 consecutive wins, the longest (active) in the state.

For the Saline Hornets, they ended their season the same way they started it:  with a loss.  After starting off 2014 with a three point defeat to Mona Shores (Muskegon), they rolled teams.  Their average margin of victory was nearly 27 this season, but they couldn’t get over the hump against a very talented Clarkston team.

This was only the second time in six seasons that a team from Detroit was not represented in the D-I final.

 

DIVISION-II – Warren DeLaSalle Pilots

This one wasn’t so close.  The Warren DeLaSalle Pilots absolutely dominated the Mona Shroes Sailors 44-8 in Friday’s D-2 contest.  With some interesting reporting on the game, the game didn’t live up to it’s expected outcome.  While the victor wasn’t a complete surprise, the 36 point difference in the game was.  Despite a three game skid in late September to early October, the Pilots weren’t completely destroying people.  Taking out a 37-0 shut-out they had against Pershing in October, the Pilots average margin of victory was 19.66, which is impressive, but Mona Shores was equally impressive, outscoring opponents by an average of thirty in their victories.  That includes a victory over the D-1 runner up Saline in week one.

 

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Ishpeming’s broadcast team of Mike Plourde & Bob Nadeau basked in their third straight trip to Ford Field for the Hematites!

DIVISION-III – Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Eaglets

A defensive battle in this one, as Orchard Lake St. Mary’s put up seven points… and won by seven.  Coach George Porritt’s team was able to absolutely stifle a high-flying Muskegon offense (averaging 26.5ppg coming in), as they hoisted their second championship in four seasons with the 7-0 victory.  St. Mary’s scored the only points of the game in the first quarter, capping off a nine-play drive that proved to be the game winner.
Muskegon actually out-gained St. Mary’s 168-164 in total yardage, but stalled out every time they neared the goal-line.  A late interception proved to be the final nail in the coffin for the Big Reds, who have now gone home from Ford Field empty-handed for the third consecutive season.  They were the runner up in D-2 the past two years, and this was their first season in D-3.  They have been a power-house in recent history though, participating in the state finals an astounding six times since 2004, and winning three of them (’04, ’06, & ’08).
DIVISION-IV – Grand Rapids South Christian Sailors
Perhaps the most exciting game of all of the divisions took place Friday night between Lansing Sexton and Grand Rapids South Christian.  A game that came down to a missed extra point with 21-seconds left, saw Lansing Sexton (trying to become the first public school from Lansing to ever win a state title) fall to GRSC 27 to 28.  Lansing Sexton scored in every quarter and was able to hold GR South Christian to just eight second half points in the game, but a 14-point first quarter proved just enough for the Sailors of Grand Rapids.  This was GR South Christian’s third straight trip to Ford Field, and they’ve now won two of those under head coach Mark Tamminga.
DIVISION-V – Grand Rapids West Catholic Falcons
Another battle between Grand Rapids and Lansing.  Another one possession game.  The GR West Catholic Falcons, who knocked off the overall #1 seed in the division (Menominee) the week before, used a late touchdown and some defense to snag their second consecutive state championship, third title in five seasons, with a runner up finish in 2012.  Coming out on top 24-20, we bid congratulations to head coach Dan Rohn on another title!
Meanwhile, this is Lansing Catholic’s second runner up finish in the past four seasons.  They fell to Flint Powers Catholic back in 2011.
DIVISION-VI – Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central Falcons
69-1.  That’s Ithaca’s record in their past 70 games.  Ask every single member of the team when they’d like that one loss to be, they’d tell you they’d prefer it to be during the regular season.  The 69 straight wins, four straight D-6 state titles, and a favorite coming in Ithaca looked poised to hoist another title.  In the words of the illustrious Lee Corso:  “Not so fast, my friend.”  Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central and head coach Jack Giarmo had other ideas.  Coming in sporting a 12-1 record, the Falcons held Yellowjackets to a season-low 12 points, and held them scoreless in all but the second quarter.
Ironically, Ithaca’s championship run began by defeating Monroe back in 2010 45-35.  That came to a screeching halt on Friday.  Monroe was actually out-gained by Ithaca by 80-yard in the contest, but three Yellowjacket turnovers did them in, as the Falcons held on 22-12.
Division 7 State Championship Game

Detroit Loyola was able to end a two-year losing streak to the Hematites in the D-7 Finals.

DIVISION-VII – Detroit Loyola Bulldogs

The grudge match.  For two consecutive seasons (2012 & 2013) the Detroit Loyola Bulldogs walked off Ford Field while watching the Ishpeming Hematites hoist the championship trophy.  They weren’t having it this time.  An angry Bulldogs team that was putting up over 50 points per game all season long was relatively held in check this time around, but their defense that allowed a shade under 9 points per game played up to that standard as the Bulldogs drubbed the Hematites 29-8, ending Ishpeming’s 33 game win streak.  For more information on this game, click HERE!
DIVISION-VIII – Muskegon Catholic Central Crusaders
This one was closer than it seemed.  Going into halftime down just four points (10-6), the Munising Mustangs looked like they were going to have a chance to play spoiler to the Muskegon Catholic Central Crusaders’ perfect season.  It was not meant to be.  The rock-solid defense finally faltered, and the offense just couldn’t get it together as the Crusaders cruised to a 31-6 victory, their second in a row under coach Steve Czerwon.  Led by RB Tommy Scott’s four touchdowns on the day, the Crusaders looked every bit as impressive as they were made out to be.  For more information on this game, click HERE!
The 2014 football season is in the books.  As mentioned up above, this season has led to a lot of debate about the MHSAA.  Look at the names of the champions from 2014.  How many of them have the words:  “Catholic”, “Christian”, or “St. Mary’s” in them?  Yeah, that’s a lot.  Private schools are notorious for recruiting some of the top talent in the state.  Is it fair?  That’s not for me to decide, but it is an issue worth discussing.  What do you think?  Should private schools who recruit players be placed in the same divisions as teams like Munising who are true division-8 teams.  Teams that don’t have any other options than the players who’s parents live in the area.  Shoot me an e-mail:  carl@sunny.fm with your thoughts!  Either way, it was a fantastic season, and congratulations to all who participated!
-Carl Leander Johnson