Football is over! I can’t believe how quickly this season came and went. Rather than drone on about the weather or football, let’s jump right into the recaps.
Clarkson 32 Detroit Catholic Central 14
It wasn’t an easy game. Clarkston took notes on what Detroit Catholic Central usually does and gave them a taste of their own medicine. Ian Eriksen, who didn’t get to play much early in the season due to injuries, was fantastic. He rushed 32 times for 242 yards and three touchdowns while also grabbing a 30 yard pass. Quarterback D.J. Zezula completed 10 of his 15 passes for 154 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. He also rushed six times for 33 yards. Caine Watlington caught two passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. Shane Holler grabbed three receptions for 34 yards and a score. Future Spartan David Beedle made three tackles, two for a loss, and had a sack. For Detroit Catholic Central, quarterback Sean Birney completed 13 of his 23 passes for 166 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. He also ran eight times for 33 yards. Connor Holton was the leading rusher for the Shamrocks, running nine times for 47 yards. Dylan Roney rushed six times for 30 yards and a score. Alexander Bock made four catches for 79 yards and a score. This is Clarkston’s first state title in football.
Birmingham Brother Rice 38 Muskegon 21
What a way for Coach Al Fracassa to go out! They won their third consecutive state title and have a 23 game winning streak. Coach Fracassa finishes his 45 year career with a record of 430-117-7. That is best in the state and sixth best nationally. All nine of Brother Rice’s state championships have come under the legendary Al Fracassa. His quarterback, Alex Malzone, completed 20 of 24 passes for 263 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran in a score. Brian Walker was his team’s leading running back with 14 carries for 66 yards. Corey Lacanaria caught 10 passes for 125 yards and a score while also running three times for 35 yards. Grant Perry grabbed five passes for 91 yards and two scores. Damaris Woods only caught three for 39 yards, but found the end zone. The Warrior defense was able to stop Muskegon’s potent rushing offense in the second half to come away with the win. Quarterback Deshaun Thrower completed six of his 16 passes for 183 yards and a score while also rushing 22 times for 128 and a pair of touchdowns. Javauntae Thomas ran eight times for 62 yards. Justin Foster caught two passes for 96 yards, including an 86 yard touchdown reception. Joevair Kennedy caught three passes for 80 yards.
Zeeland West 34 DeWitt 27
In only nine years of existence, Zeeland West has three state championship trophies. A strong first half propelled the Dux to another state championship. Zeeland West quarterback Casey Brinks didn’t throw the ball a whole lot; he completed three of his five attempts for 35 yards and a touchdown. Brinks was strong in the running game with 11 runs for 66 yards and a score. Danny Bauder had a great game, rushing eight times for 149 yards and a score. Cole Hession toted the rock 26 times for 125 yards. Grant Postma only ran six times for 71 yards, but found the end zone twice. Hession also caught that 14 yard touchdown pass and finished with 21 yards on two receptions. Six different Dux ran the ball. For DeWitt, they fell behind early so they relied on the pass a lot. Quarterback Jake Johnson completed 15 of his 24 passes for 289 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He also was his team’s leading running back with 13 carries for 41 yards. Chris Ruby carried the ball once, but it went for a 56 yard score. Ben Heinritz rushed seven times for 54 yards. Josh Borta led his team in receiving with five catches for 183 yards and two touchdowns. Justice Shankel caught four passes for 50 yards and a score.
Marine City 49 Grand Rapids South Christian 35
The game didn’t start with a whole lot of offense, but once it got rolling, lots of points were scored. On the second play of the game, South Christian scored on a 52 yard pass and catch from John Wassink to Eric VanVoorst. No one else scored in the first. Marine City was lucky to have Jarrett Mathison. He played extremely well. The junior fullback ran 18 times for 110 yards and two scores while also returning the second half kickoff 91 yards for a score. On defense, he intercepted two passes as well. Quarterback Alex Merchant completed 10 of his 12 passes for 208 yards and three scores. Pete Patsaslis caught five passes for 142 yards and all three touchdowns. Tait Sapienza ran 17 times for 123 yards and a score. They also made a bit of history. Junior Oliva Viney became the first female to play in the football finals in Michigan. She nailed all seven of her extra points to tie the record for most PAT’s made in a final. For South Christian, quarterback Jon Wassink completed 18 of his 30 passes for 240 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. He caught two passes for 32 yards. The man even ran 17 times for 73 yards and a pair of scores. Geff Plasma rushed seven times for 52 yards and completed both of his passes to Wassink. Eric VanVoorst caught nine passes for 149 yards and two scores. Kyle Haan caught two passes for 21 yards and a score.
Grand Rapids West Catholic 27 Menominee 14
The play of the game was a trick. Late in the third quarter, GRWC lined up for a field goal. Bryce Witham walked toward the sideline like he was leaving the field. Then they snapped the ball and Witham bolted down the sideline and caught a 30 yard TD pass from Travis Hoving. Before that, the game had been a defensive struggle, with both squads tied at seven points. West Catholic quarterback Travis Russell completed seven of his 15 passes for 176 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. He also rushed 21 times for 137 yards and a score. Andy Corey ran 15 times for 90 yards. Drake Wooten caught three passes for 97 yards and a score. David Bancuk caught two passes for 44 yards and a score. Menominee quarterback/tailback Justin Brilinski completed 11 of his 21 passes for 158 yards and two interceptions. Devon Harris caught 10 of them for 149 yards. Brilinski also ran 19 times for 86 yards and a score. James Brown rushed 18 times for 102 yards and a score. He also caught a nine yard pass.
Ithaca 41 Clinton 22
Another game, another win, another state championship for Ithaca…seems like it hasn’t changed in quite some time. The Yellowjackets have won 56 straight games and are tied with Iowa City Regina for the nation’s longest active winning streak. Quarterback Travis Smith has dressed for all four state championships and is 41-0 as a starter. He also finished with a MHSAA career record of 104 touchdown passes. He played very well in this game, completing 17 of his 27 passes for 247 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception. He also ran 16 times for 137 yards and returned an interception 30 yards for a score. Bryan Shaw rushed 12 times for 53 yards. Logan Hessbrook caught six passes for 93 yards and a score. Teammate Eli Villalobos caught six as well for 82 yards and a score. For Clinton, quarterback TJ Baker completed 13 of his 22 passes for 63 yards and two interceptions. He also ran 15 times for 115 yards. Matthew Sexton caught four passes for 23 yards. Collin Poore rushed 11 times for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
Ishpeming 22 Detroit Loyola 12
This was a battle. Both teams knew they had a chance to make it to the finals, and being on the opposite side of the bracket, they had a feeling they might meet in the finals again. That’s exactly what happened. Once again, the Hematites came out on top. Senior quarterback Alex Briones completed six of his 13 passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed a game high 27 times for 70 yards and a score. Adam Prisk ran nine times for 81 yards. Marcus Antilla caught two passes for 37 yards and a score. Mitch Laurin caught one touchdown pass from two yards out. On the Detroit Loyola side, quarterback Garrett Schaller completed 14 of his 31 passes for 201 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Marvin Campbell ran 11 times for 52 yards and had a 21 yard reception. Keith Graves caught five passes for 102 yards and both Loyola touchdowns.
Muskegon Catholic Central 35 Beal City 12
The defense for MCC came through. Beal City had scored 737 points this season, good for second best in MHSAA history. The game was pretty close in the first half. Within 10 minutes in the third and fourth quarter, MCC busted it wide open and scored 21. Quarterback Nick Holt completed zero of his four passes and had an interception. He did run well though, gaining 130 and a touchdown on 14 runs. Alex Lewandowski rushed 16 times for 218 yards and three scores. Tommy Scott chipped in 10 runs for 62 yards and a score. For Beal City, quarterback Kurt Gross completed eight of his 16 attempts for 94 yards and an interception. Tucker Gross only completed one of his six passes, but it went for an eight yard score. Ryan Tillman caught three passes for 33 yards and a score. Ty Rollin caught three as well for 32 yards and rushed nine times for 44 yards. Hayden Huber rushed 13 times for 52 yards and a score.