Broncos cruise to a perfect 28-0, win first ever state title
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
April 27, 2015
The Broncos from Mustang High School left no doubt as to who the best team in Oklahoma’s Class 6A was during the 2014-15 season.
Mustang outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 1994-1334 over the course of 28 games that ultimately led to the Oklahoma Class 6A State Championship.
While the State Championship victory over Edmond Santa Fe (93-54) may have seemed old hat to some long-time Mustang High School basketball fans, it still marked the Broncos first ever state title in boys basketball. The girls basketball team on the other hand, has captured five State Titles ranging from 1980 all the way to as recent as 2006.
The Mustang Boys Basketball team’s championship victory came after a long season of close victories and blow out wins across the state and even into Texas.
The Broncos hosted Texas power DeSoto in their first game of the season, narrowly defeating the Fighting Eagles by a 62-60 score. Jakolby Long paced Mustang in their season debut, scoring 16 points, hitting two three-pointers and pulling down six rebounds.
Their second game of the season continued a familiar feel as the Broncos hosted another Texas team – this time Kimball came to town. Also much like their first game, Mustang found themselves trailing at halftime against Knights, 49-45.
However, unlike their opener against DeSoto – the Broncos held Kimball to just 17 second half points pulling away late en route to an 88-66 victory. Aubrey Johnson carried Mustang against the Knights, scoring 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting including 6-of-8 from behind the arc.
After their opening victories over two of Texas’ top teams, Mustang rolled through their next opponent, defeating Deer Creek, 91-54 to set up an eventual championship game preview against Edmond Santa Fe.
In the first of their two meetings, the Broncos utilized a strong final three quarters, outscoring the Wolves by 16 points after the first quarter. Long scored a season-high 25 points during the 83-74 victory for Mustang as the Broncos out rebounded Santa Fe by a 43-33 margin, including 25 offensive rebounds that led to 28 second chance points for Mustang.
After narrowly defeating Norman North (72-63) and holding off Edmond Memorial (72-64), the Broncos got back to their crushing defeats, handing Texas’ HSAA South a 101-49 defeat and HCYA a 135-70 loss.
After holding off Eisenhower in their next matchup (77-72), Mustang cruised from there on. The Broncos ended their regular season on a tear, finishing with a 21-0 record before heading into the Oklahoma State Championships.
Continuing their impressive play – Mustang eased through their first six opponents of the post season, including a 101-68 victory over Norman North and a 107-51 triumph over Grant. After defeating Edmond Memorial once again, this time by a score of 60-50, the State Championship game and rematch of their early season matchup was set.
Edmond Santa Fe would be the only team in the way of a perfect 28-0 season for the Broncos and the state title.
The Wolves once again proved to be no match against Mustang, this time falling 93-54, giving the Broncos the school’s first State Championship in boys basketball.
During the 2014-15 season, Mustang saw many successes en route to their title, including outscoring their opponents in every quarter, most notably by a 462-371 margin in the first quarter. The Broncos shot nearly 50 % from the field while limiting their opponents to well under 40 %.
Mustang outrebounded their opponents during their championship run by nearly 300 rebounds. The Broncos doubled their opponent’s offensive rebounds at 360-180 and managed to force over 500 turnovers.
Finishing with a 28-0 record and the team’s first ever State Championship, combining with the fact that their two top scorers and top rebounder will be back in 2015-16, hopes heading into next season for the Broncos should be at an all-time high.
It will remain to be seen how they will fare as defending champions – but surely, that’s a challenge they will enjoy relishing in all the way until March 2016.
Digital Scout Volleyball stat-tracking app to be released later this year
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
April 8, 2015
All of us at Digital Scout are proud to announce that we will be releasing our new and improved Volleyball Statistical-Tracking application for Apple devices to be ready for the start of the 2015 season.
With Digital Scout's Volleyball app, high school volleyball teams, both boys and girls, will have access to the most comprehensive and robust volleyball stat-tracking app on the market.
Utilizing quick scoring methods on a touch-screen display, the Digital Scout Volleyball app allows coaches to generate real-time stats for their matches, day in and day out. Volleyball coaches will have instant access to full box scores, individual and team stats and much more.
In addition, when using the Digital Scout Volleyball app live, fans and parents will be able to follow along live on the NFHS Network as the stats stream in. On our all new volleyball event page, viewers can follow along with every bump, set and spike of their favorite high school volleyball team.
Sign up for future notifications and further information at our official Digital Scout Volleyball Launch Page.
Crusaders win inagural CHSAA State Title game
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
March 17, 2015
The Crusaders from Canisius High School made history in 2014, capturing the inaugural CHSAA New York State Football Championship. The Crusaders did so in impressive fashion from season’s beginning, to season’s end, defeating Archbishop Stepinac, 23-10 in the season’s culminating game.
Canisius, paced by their quarterback-running back duo of Jakob Loucks and Mitch Thomas, ran their way to victory to open the season, providing glimpses of what would eventually take them to the State Championship.
Aside from their QB-RB duo, a key trait for the Crusaders in 2014 was special teams. In their season opener, Josh Huffman returned the game’s opening kickoff 93 yards for the first points of 2014, en route to a 48-3 rout of McQuaid Jesuit. Loucks threw for two scores and Thomas ran the ball just four times for 67 yards and a touchdown in the victory.
Thomas ran in his first score of the game from 55 yards out, just over two minutes into the first quarter. Loucks threw for one score and rush for another and the Crusaders would receive six additional points from kicker and University of Connecticut commit, Michael Tarbutt, who connected on kicks from 28 and 52 yards away.
Against Walsh Jesuit, the Crusaders saw Loucks toss three first half scores while Thomas ran for two scores himself en route to a 40-7 halftime lead. The lone seven points scored by the Warriors came off of a bad snap in the second quarter that was recovered for a touchdown.
Tarbutt added a 41-yard field goal in the second half to push the final score to 43-7.
After defeating Jamestown, 27-14 and St. Joseph’s Collegiate, 17-0, Canisius again traveled to Ohio, this time to Bishop Watterson, in Columbus. This game marked the fourth consecutive road game for the Crusaders.
The Eagles were able to force two Loucks interceptions in the game, but were unable to withstand the rushing attack of the Canisius offense. Thomas rushed 20 times for 159 yards and a touchdown while Loucks and Brad Zaffram added rushing scores of their own.
Playing a home game for the first time in over a month, Canisius welcomed Ohio’s Cardinal Mooney to Buffalo, a year removed from a loss at the hands of the Cardinals.
The 2014 contest proved to be another evenly matched game between the two schools, except this time, Canisius would come away victorious.
After opening up a 17-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter, Tarbutt closed the gap for the Crusaders, drilling a 37-yard field goal to trim the lead to 17-10. With 2:40 left to play, Cardinal Mooney quarterback Jon Saadey fumbled the ball after being hit by Jack Seminara.
Mitch Thomas picked up the fumble and score on the play for the proverbial ‘scoop-and-score’ that tied the game, but he wouldn’t be done there.
Just six plays later after the Canisius defense forced a quick Cardinal punt, Thomas scored from 26-yards away, giving the Crusaders their first lead of the game, 24-17, with just 0:23 seconds remaining. The score was enough to exact revenge from a 9-7 defeat in 2013.
The CHSAA New York playoffs started two weeks later and present two very familiar foes to the Crusaders.
Head Coach Rich Robbins’ team faceed off against their two most recent opponents in the first two rounds of the playoffs, handling both St. Francis (62-19) and Bishop Timon-St. Jude (35-8) easily once again.
The inaugural CHSAA New York State Football Championship had been long awaited for prior to the 2014 season beginning. Mother Nature would make fans wait just a little bit longer as the snow storms in November delayed the game a whole week.
16 days removed from their last game, Canisius took on Archbishop Stepinac in a battle of teams nicknamed Crusaders.
Stepinac and Canisius both entered the game undefeated and both teams looked very much the part in the first half. The only points on the board in the first half came by way of the aforementioned special teams. Stepinac forced a safety on a blocked punt in the first quarter before Tarbutt connected on two field goals in the second quarter.
The first of the two field goals permanently etched Tarbutt in Canisius history as he drilled a school record 60-yard field goal. He followed that up with a 28-yarder and the Crusaders took a 6-2 lead into halftime.
Stepinac regained the lead to start the second half as dual-threat quarterback Brandon Coleman rushed in the game’s first touchdown from eight yards out.
Loucks answered with a 16-yard rushing touchdown of his own to put Canisius back in the lead at 13-10. Tarbutt hit his third field goal of the game after that, a 35-yarder to push the Canisius lead to 16-10.
Coleman subsequently drove the Stepinac offense down the field, nearly scoring on a 50-yard rush that took the ball all the way to the Canisius 25 yard line. However, two Michael Kenefick sacks pushed the Stepinac offense to a 3rd and long. After gaining only six yards, Coleman would be intercepted by Jerome Brundidge on a 4th and 16 play.
Brundidge’s interception might have ended the game had he simply caught the ball and gone down, however 74 yards of green grass called his name as he returned the interception for the game-sealing touchdown. His pick six pushed the final score to 23-10 for Canisius.
FINAL: CANISIUS 23, Archbishop Stepinac 10. Canisius is State Champs. #PrepTalkLive— Canisius HS Football (@CanisiusHSFB) December 7, 2014
The Crusaders were crowned the 2014 CHSAA New York Football State Champions.
Over the past three years, Canisius has combined for a 32-2 record but will have their work cut out for them in the years to come as they will graduate several seniors this summer including the quarterback-running back duo of Loucks and Thomas.
Among others, most notably the Crusaders will also be without the services of Tyrone Wheatley who signed his letter of intent with Michigan. Zaffram also signed a FBS letter to play at UTEP while Tarbutt will play at Uconn at the next level and Huffman will play at Maine next season.
Despite the challenges of losing many great players, coach Robbins and his staff will undoubtedly have the 2015 Crusaders ready to defend their inaugural CHSAA State Title.
Offensive stat leaders
Rushing: Mitch Thomas (1580 yards)
Passing: Jakob Loucks (1112 yards)
Receiving: David Thomas (316 yards)
All-Purpose: Mitch Thomas (1777 yards)
Touchdowns: Mitch Thomas (16)
Rush attempts: Mitch Thomas (167 carries)
Receptions: David Thomas (19 catches)
Defensive stat leaders
Total Tackles: Brad Zaffram (47/5)
Tackles for loss: Tyrone Wheatley (14)
Sacks: Tyrone Wheatley (9)
Interceptions: Jack Seminara (5)
Interception yards: Josh Huffman (132 yards)
Fumbles forced: Jacob Chaas (2)
Total scoring: 419 points
Opponent scoring: 119
Total offense: 3817 yards
Total rushing yards: 2688 yards
Total passing yards: 1129 yards
Opponent offense: 2062 yards
Opponent rushing yards: 769 yards
Opponent passing yards: 1293 yards
Third down conversions: 43/114 (37.7 %)
Opponent third down conversions: 33/137 (24.1 %)
Turnover differential: +16 (22 interceptions, 8 fumbles)
Cardinals ride Mazour to title, send Coach Johnson out in style
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
March 3, 2015
While the position of dual-threat quarterback has seemingly become a household term nowadays, a true dual-threat quarterback is still one of more exciting spectacles to watch on all levels of football. Especially however, in high school football, and especially when your dual-threat quarterback leads you to a championship.
For the Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals, that’s exactly what happened.
While Mazour might look and seem more like a running back, the senior could certainly sling the ball through the air when necessary. He totaled over 200 total yards of offense in nine of 13 games last season and accumulated over 300 yards of offense in five of those games.
He finished his senior season with 1,626 yards on the ground and 1,869 yards through the air. He ran for 25 touchdowns and threw for another 26. He also returned kicks and punts for an additional 623 yards and another two scores.
Mazour wasn’t finished with just offense and special teams, he also played cornerback on a defense that held opponents under 14 points per game. He recorded three pass break ups, recovered a fumble and intercepted two passes, one in which he returned for a touchdown against Wayne.
All in all, Mazour finished the season with 2,307 all-purpose yards, an average of 177.5 yards per game. He was credited with 28 solo touchdowns while he was accountable for 54 scores overall on the season.
The Cardinals jumped out of the gates hot in 2014. After allowing their week one opponent, Scotus Central Catholic, to tie the game at 14 points apiece, Boone Central scored 17 unanswered points to win 31-14.
Boone Central would lead the way for the next seven games. In fact, the closest any opponent came to leading over the Cardinals in those seven games would be the 0-0 start of the game. Boone Central scored first in each game, winning their first eight games by a combined margin of 352-111.
In their regular season finale against Norfolk Catholic, the Cardinals took a 12-3 lead before allowing a quick touchdown run by the Knights that cut the lead to 12-9 at halftime.
Norfolk Catholic became the first team to lead the Cardinals in 2014 as they scored on the opening drive of the third quarter to take a 16-12 lead.
However, those would be the last points the Knights scored, as they surrendered 20 unanswered to Boone Central, falling to the Cardinals, 32-16.
That game ended Boone Central’s regular season at a perfect 9-0 as they entered the playoffs with a first round matchup against Milford. After being granted the No. 2 seed and dispatching Milford, 48-7 to open the postseason, a familiar foe would be presented to the Cardinals.
That familiar foe would be the only opponent they trailed in the regular season, Norfolk Catholic.
Much like their first meeting, the game remained close throughout as the Cardinals led 14-6 at halftime. After two quick scores form each brought the game within one possession at 17-14, Mazour marched his team down the field in just five plays before pushing Boone Central’s advantage to 23-14.
Mazour’s five-yard touchdown rush was enough to hold up in the end as the Cardinals hung on for the 23-17 victory over the Knights to advance.
For just the second time during the entire season, the Cardinals found themselves trailing, in their next outing. Against Kearney Catholic in the state semifinals, the Stars scored first, late in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead. Similar to the only other time the Cardinals trailed though, those points would be the last ones Kearney Catholic could muster.
Boone Central advanced to the state championship after scoring 34 consecutive points to win, 34-7 over the Stars.
The state championship game pitted Nebraska Class C1’s top two teams in the No. 2 seed Cardinals taking on No. 1 seed Ashland-Greenwood.
Boone Central looked more like the top seed however, jumping out to a 21-7 first quarter lead before ultimately handing the Bluejays their lone defeat of the season, 54-14. The 40-point loss was the Bluejays largest margin of defeat in over two years.
The game was a fitting end to a season and a fitting end to head coach Arnold Johnson’s career at Boone Central, as his last game at the helm of the Cardinals sent him out as a State Champion.
Mazour finished the state championship game, throwing for 129 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for a season-high 248 yards.
With the departures of Coach Johnson as well as Mazour and several other seniors, the Cardinals will have an uphill road if they were to repeat as State Champions.
Nevertheless, Mazour and Coach Johnson exit Boone Central as Champions. A fitting exit for a legendary coach and truly one of the more exciting dual-threat quarterbacks in recent memory.
Offensive stat leaders
Rushing: Wyatt Mazour (1626 yards)
Passing: Wyatt Mazour (1869 yards)
Receiving: Travis Kennedy (515 yards)
All-Purpose: Wyatt Mazour (2307 yards)
Touchdowns: Wyatt Mazour (28)
Rush attempts: Wyatt Mazour (185 carries)
Receptions: Zac Glidden (27 catches)
Defensive stat leaders
Total tackles: Colton Pelster (75)
Tackles for loss: Michael Lipker (12.5)
Sacks: Michael Lipker (2.5)
Interceptions: Kyle Kramer (5)
Fumbles forced: Zac Glidden (3)
Fumbles recovered: Zac Glidden (4)
Total scoring: 543 points
Opponent scoring: 172
Total offense: 5095 yards
Total rushing yards: 2895 yards
Total passing yards: 2200 yards
Opponent offense: 3325 yards
Opponent rushing yards: 2362 yards
Opponent passing yards: 963 yards
Third down conversions: 50/120 (41.7 %)
Opponent third down conversions: 56/188 (29.8 %)
Turnover differential: +10 (23 interceptions, 10 fumbles)
Cadets utilize strong offense, defense to secure first ever State Title
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
February 26, 2015
After coming up just short on two separate occurrences, Christian Brothers College High School finally achieved arguably their most sought after athletic goal – a football State Championship.
Despite having won multiple championships in nearly every other sport at the school, the Cadets had come up just shy of winning the Missouri Class 6 State Title in both 2006 and 2011.
In 2014 however, CBC returned to the season’s final game, except this time, they returned from the Edward Jones Dome with a championship trophy. The Cadets defeated perennial Missouri power Rockhurst, 31-24 to cap a perfect season in the perfect way and finish 14-0.
During the entire season for Christian Brothers, the Cadets seemed virtually unstoppable, winning their first 13 games by a combined margin of 563 points, or an average margin of victory of just over 43 points per contest.
In their first game of the season, CBC hosted Hickman, and easily handled the Kewpies, 63-14. Running backs Tre Bryant and Kaleb Allen each rushed for two touchdowns and quarterback Blake Charlton threw for 130 yards and two scores on just eight completions.
The Cadets offense shared the ball very effectively against Hickman as 14 different CBC players touched the ball on offense during their first outing.
Defensive leader Kevin Williams recorded 2.0 sacks against Hickman, as he finished the season leading the team in total tackles and tackles for loss.
Week two put CBC on the road for the first time, taking on Jefferson City. After a sluggish start for the Cadets, a 35-point third quarter put the game away before an eventual 47-0 victory over the Jays. Bryant again ran for two scores in the game against Jefferson City while defensive back Sean Boyd also scored on an interception return that pushed the Cadets lead to 26-0.
After defeating Fort Zumwalt West, 52-21 in week three, Christian Brothers pitched two consecutive shutouts in the face of their annual rivalry game against De Smet Jesuit. Leading up to the game against Spartans, CBC shut out St. John Vianney, 56-0 before blanking Chaminade College Prep, 51-0.
In 2014, it was CBC’s turn to travel to De Smet, all 10 minutes of the distance that separates the two. A year removed from the narrow 14-11 Christian Brothers victory, the 2014 version of the rivalry game would be anything but similar to their previous game.
The Cadets jumped all over the Spartans early, taking a 37-0 lead to halftime before ultimately dismantling their rival, 60-0. CBC held De Smet to just 47 total yards of offense and running back Calen Taylor ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Spartan quarterbacks were held to just 5-of-16 passing for 33 yards while all De Smet rushers combined for just 14 yards on the ground.
Christian Brothers forced 10 Spartan punts in what would be their third consecutive shutout victory.
The Cadets finished their regular season with victories over St. Louis University (49-16), Tennessee’s Christian Brothers (49-7) and a 14-point victory over Rock Bridge (40-26). To date, the 14-point margin of victory stood as the slimmest of the season for CBC.
After finishing the regular season at a perfect 9-0, Christian Brothers faced off against an all too familiar foe in the fashion of their arch rivals – De Smet Jesuit – once again.
Despite allowing the Spartans to score in the second quarter, the first round matchup against De Smet looked eerily similar to the team’s first meeting for Spartans fans. While De Smet was able to gain nearly triple the amount of yards the second time around (123), the Spartans turned the ball over three times against the Cadets defense before ultimately dropping the game to CBC, 52-7.
Christian Brothers have five different players score touchdowns including two rushing scores from Allen and two receiving scores from wide receiver Mike Million.
After defeating their rival for the second time in as many games in 2014, the Cadets hosted Francis Howell North and then Hazelwood Central in consecutive playoff games, winning both games by the same score of 45-0.
Against Francis Howell North, both Taylor and Bryant each scored two rushing touchdowns in the 45-0 throttling of the Knights.
Against Hazelwood Central, CBC did the majority of their damage in the second and third quarters, scoring 17 and 21 points, respectively. The Cadets outgained the Hawks 332 to 174 in this 45-0 victory, only Hazelwood Central’s second loss of the season.
The victory over the Hawks exacted revenge for CBC as Hazelwood Central had ousted the Cadets from the playoffs a year prior, 26-24.
In the state semifinals, Christian Brothers were to take on an 11-1 Kirkwood team, who had looked equally as impressive in their playoff victories. The Pioneers had won their three games by margins of 53, 28 and 47 points, respectively.
Kirkwood’s challenge against CBC would ultimately be too big as Christian Brothers cruised into the State Championship game with a 55-10 victory.
After the Pioneers took an early 3-0 lead, CBC’s Bryant grabbed the lead with a 35-yard touchdown run. Damion Baker then intercepted a Will Hadler pass and returned it for a touchdown and a quick 14-point swing.
Kirkwood stood tall however, limiting the CBC offense through the majority of the first half and even pull back within striking range after a Robert Columbus 2-yard touchdown rush brought the score to 14-10.
However, just two plays later and after a Charlton 57-yard bomb to Lamar Anderson, Taylor punched in a touchdown rush to start the offensive onslaught.
CBC scored on their first three possessions of the third quarter, building a 42-10 lead. The Cadets pushed that lead even further when Rashon Davis intercepted a Reece Goddard pass and returned it for the second ‘pick-six’ of the game for Christian Brothers. After one more Taylor touchdown rush, CBC won the game by a score of 55-10 to advance to the finals.
Taylor finished with three rushing touchdowns and 102 yards on the ground for the Cadets.
Awaiting Christian Brothers in the state’s final game would be Rockhurst, perennial Missouri powerhouse who had won state titles as recent as 2010 and 2007.
The meeting between the two teams would go down as one of the better state title games across not only the state of Missouri, but the entire country.
Charlton connected on a pass to Million from 3-yards out on the very first possession for CBC. After forcing a three-and-out from the Hawklets offense, Calob Meinzer hit on a 24-yard field goal to give the Cadets an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter.
However, after a 19-play drive was capped off by a 3-yard touchdown rush by quarterback T.J. Green, the Hawklets inched back in to the game. Rockhurst forced a three-and-out of their own, forcing Charlton to punt the ball back to the Hawklets, after just 0:39 seconds off the game clock.
The CBC defense, who had just been on the field for 19 plays, again were subjected to a long drive by Rockhurst and Green. This time, after a 10-play drive, the Hawklets tied the game at 10 points apiece with a 39-yard Jackson Terry field goal.
Charlton however, put the Cadets back in the lead before halftime with his second scoring connection to Million, this one from 21 yards away to give CBC a 17-10 lead at the break.
Momentum swung in the early stages of the third quarter in Christian Brother’s favor as a 48-yard field goal attempt from Terry went wide. The Cadets took over, up by a touchdown with 7:38 left in the third quarter. Still, the CBC offense was stopped and after a sack of Charlton, the Cadets were forced to punt yet again.
Charlton’s punt subsequently was blocked and Rockhurst would take over at the CBC 19 yard line. Green connected with Taylor Soukup just three plays later from seven yards away to tie the game once again, this time at 17-17.
Rockhurst’s defense stepped up once again and force another Christian Brothers punt on the next possession before Green, the son of former NFL quarterback Trent Green, threw his second consecutive scoring pass, this time from 52-yards out and to Lance Boehm.
The Hawklets led for the first time in the game, 24-17.
Despite all the momentum shifts and the defensive stronghold Rockhurst had, CBC head coach Scott Pingel stuck with the game plan on the nexts drive, churning out a big five-yard rush on third and short by Bryant. After converting the third down, Charlton hit Million for 66 yards to set up a first and goal as the seconds were ticking off the third quarter.
Taylor once more tied the game for CBC just before the third quarter ended, punching the ball in from two yards away.
On the ensuing possession for the Hawklets, the first of the fourth quarter, Green would be pressured often by the Cadet defense, a common trend in the game. Clayton Stalling and Jordan Davis recorded sacks, the latter forcing Rockhurst to punt the ball away.
After the punt, the CBC offense marched down the field in a true championship-moment, trudging 58 yards in 10 plays before Charlton connected with Kameron Curtis from 10-yards away. Charlton’s third passing touchdown of the game pushed Christian Brothers back into the lead, 31-24.
Rockhurst’s ensuing possession looked promising as they took over with 5:43 left in the game. After converting on a third down and gaining 38 yards, the CBC defense forced a long 3rd and eight for Green and the Hawklets. The trend of defensive pressure prevailed once again for the Cadets as Stalling recorded his third sack of Green and force a 4th and 19 play that would arguably decide the game.
Green’s subsequent pass on fourth down fell incomplete and CBC took over with 2:51 remaining on the clock and in the season for both teams.
All did not seem lost for Rockhurst however as they dropped Taylor for -1 yard on first down and held the Charlton to Million connection to just four yards setting up a third and long for the Cadets.
However, a costly offsides from the Hawklets shrank a 3rd and 7 to a more manageable 3rd and 2 for CBC. Charlton converted the shortened third down and dashed any hopes of a Rockhurst comeback, giving Christian Brothers College High School their first ever football State Championship, 31-24.
CBC would finally bring home the coveted title of Missouri Class 6 State Championship back to the school after losing in the 2006 and 2011.
The Cadets won their first state championship with a stout defense, a high-powered offense and some senior leadership. Despite losing several players to graduation and to the next level, most notably Taylor who signed with Army and defensive end Quintin Wynne who signed with Northern Illinois, the 2015 fall camp will start with a familiar face under center – Blake Charlton.
The rising-senior quarterback will return in 2015, looking to defend the school’s first title. He’ll have a host of weapons returning with him and several returning members of their stalwart defense from the 2014 championship as the Cadets will undoubtedly be the team to beat in Missouri’s Class 6.
Offensive stat leaders
Rushing: Calen Taylor (116 yards)
Passing: Blake Charlton (1749 yards)
Receiving: Mike Million (752 yards)
All-Purpose: Calen Taylor (1625 yards)
Rush attempts: Calen Taylor (158 carries)
Receptions: Lamar Anderson (56 catches)
Defensive stat leaders
Total tackles: Kevin Williams (55.5)
Tackles for loss: Kevin Williams (16)
Sacks: Jordan Davis (9)
Interceptions: Eric Carrera (3)
Interception return: Damion Baker (110 yards)
Fumbles forced: Mike Jones (4)
Total scoring: 695 points
Opponent scoring: 125
Total offense: 5812 yards
Total rushing yards: 3367 yards
Total passing yards: 2445 yards
Opponent offense: 2920 yards
Opponent rushing yards: 1312 yards
Opponent passing yards: 1608 yards
Turnover differential: +24 (15 interceptions, 16 fumbles)
Spartans come on late in season, win first ever State Title
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
February 25, 2015
In 2014, many firsts happened all across the country. Some teams made it to the playoffs for the first time, while others advanced to the season’s culminating championship games for the first time.
The fight to get to the State Championship for Battle, however, was just that – quite the challenge.
The Spartans started their season off on the wrong foot, dropping a high-scoring matchup to Jackson, 62-34. Despite 265 rushing yards by Nash Sutherlin, the Spartans were outdone in the second half, surrendering 27 points over the final two quarters.
Despite the loss to open the season, Battle put forth a gutsy performance against Wentzville Holt in their second game of the season. Leading 42-28 at halftime, the Spartans allowed the Indians back in to the game in the second half after a quick 70-yard touchdown heave cut the Battle advantage to 49-42.
Sutherlin however would put the game away with a 50-yard touchdown rush, his second of the game, with just 3:47 left to play, giving the Spartans a 56-42 advantage. Even with a late touchdown surrendered to the Indians, Battle pulled off the victory, 56-49, in what would be the highest scoring game of the season in terms of total points for both teams.
After their exciting victory over Holt, Battle took to their home field for the first time in 2014, against Class 6 Rock Bridge.
After starting the game with two unconventional scores, a safety and a field goal, that gave the Spartans a 5-0 lead, the Bruins would launch a 25-point scoring onslaught over the next 25 minutes. Rock Bridge would hold on to defeat Battle, 25-11, pushing the Spartans record to just 1-2 on the season.
The Spartans brought their record back to even with a 36-0 shutout victory over Excelsior Springs in week four, only to be right back on the losing side of things a week later. Against Helias Catholic, Battle turned the ball over three times and committed nine penalties for 75 yards in a 29-14 defeat.
The playoffs seemed a long ways away for the Spartans after week five, but nevertheless, the Battle defense stood tall in their next two games, holding both Hickman and Lee’s Summit North to just seven points apiece and just 116 and 96 total yards of offense, respectively. Battle defeated the Kewpies, 14-7 before defeating the Broncos, 37-7.
Any momentum built from their two consecutive wins before, was lost the next week when Battle hosted Jefferson City in the final regular season home game of the year. The Jays built a 31-7 lead at halftime and didn’t look back, defeating the Spartans, 38-20.
In the final game of the regular season however, Battle once again got back to their winning ways, defeating Hannibal, 28-14 to push their record to 5-4 before heading to the playoffs as an unlikely contender.
Carrying what would become a common trend into their next game, Battle would face off against one of their regions top teams, and one of the teams that had been qualified for an automatic pass from the first round of the playoffs. Waynesville, the Spartans opponent in the second round, was coming off a week of rest, having been granted a bye in the first round.
Their rest seemingly paid off as late in the fourth quarter, Waynesville running back Jalen Thomas scored from 1-yard out to give the Tigers their first lead of the game, 17-14. That lead needed to last just 0:18 seconds longer however, as Sutherlin capped a quick drive with a 3-yard touchdown rush for the game-winning score.
The Spartans advanced to the third round after defeating Waynesville, 21-17.
Battle would take on Camdenton in their next postseason game, another team that had been granted a pass through the first round of the playoffs.
The Spartans scored first on a Brevinn Tyler connection to Chyrome Thorpe in the first quarter before Camdenton would tie the score before halftime at 7-7. Battle however would score two quick times in the third quarter to steal momentum and hold on to beat the Lakers, 22-14 and advance to the state quarterfinals.
Fort Zumwalt North would await the Spartans in the quarterfinals, having won their two playoffs games with ease, 29-0 over Parkway North and 42-7 over Fort Zumwalt East. The Panthers were also granted a bye in the first round of the playoffs and would meet the Spartans holding a 10-1 record.
Similar to their previous game, Battle and Fort Zumwalt North went to the halftime break tied, this time at 13 points apiece.
Tyler would throw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Javeon McQuitty in the opening moments of the third quarter before both defenses would stand tall. The Tyler-McQuitty connection would be the final points of the game, and be enough to advance the Spartans to the state semifinals with a 20-13 victory.
Taking on their lone opponent who wasn’t granted that first round bye, the Spartans seemingly looked the part of the dominant team, dismantling Ladue Horton Watkins, 34-6 to advance to the school’s first ever state championship game appearance.
The State Championship game featured two teams just as unlikely as the other to have made it to the season’s culminating game. Both Nixa and Battle would bring with them a 10-4 record.
The Spartans got the scoring started with a Marshall Willingham 17-yard score with just under four minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The Eagles answered back however, with two quick Alec Murphy scores that gave Nixa a 14-7 lead that they would take to halftime. A scoreless third quarter was broken in rapid fashion as Battle kicker Kaleb Adams connected on a 43-yard field goal with 4:01 left.
Nixe quarterback Logan Tyler would be intercepted on the Eagles ensuing possession as Darrion Hall would secure the takeaway and return it for a touchdown. After a successful two-point conversion, the Spartans lead 18-14 in just a matter of 1:10 seconds.
Riding their momentum, Brevinn Tyler would rush from 18-yards out to give Battle a 24-14 lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Adams field goal in the third quarter would prove to be the difference in the game after Dawson Mills connected with Dustin Clifton for 17-yards and a score that brought the Eagles within two points, 24-22.
The Spartans would need to bleed the remaining 4:18 off of the clock to hold on to the victory. They got help by means of a big 33-yard completion from Tyler to Thorpe on a 3rd and 8 play. After the pass, Tyler would seemingly put the game away with a 50-yard touchdown rush, only to be called back by an illegal procedure penalty.
Nevertheless, the Spartans would be able to run out the final moments of the clock and secure the school’s first ever football State Championship, holding on to defeat Nixa, 24-22.
Handing these out tonight! Football State Champion rings! pic.twitter.com/79Z7gCdiki— Battle Athletics (@BattleAthletics) February 18, 2015
After an up and down season ended with the ultimate goal, the 2015 season for the Spartans will have to have some exciting moments to compete with this past season. Battle will return Tyler (a rising junior), Thorpe, McQuitty and a host of other offensive stars looking to defend their title.
One thing is for sure, if teams didn’t know who the Battle Spartans were before 2014, they know now.
Offensive stat leaders
Rushing: Nash Sutherlin (2090 yards)
Passing: Brevinn Tyler (1379 yards)
Receiving: Chyrome Thorpe (554 yards)
All-Purpose: Nash Sutherlin (1290 yards)
Touchdowns: Nash Sutherlin (19)
Rush attempts: Nash Sutherlin (280 carries)
Receptions: Chyrome Thorpe (43 catches)
Defensive stat leaders
Interceptions: Kole Hinton (4)
Interception return: Marshall Willingham (111 yards)
Fumbles recovered: Chandler Anderson (4)
Total scoring: 427 points
Opponent scoring: 311
Total offense: 5186 yards
Total rushing yards: 1669 yards
Total passing yards: 3517 yards
Opponent offense: 3153 yards
Opponent rushing yards: 1475 yards
Opponent passing yards: 1678 yards
Turnover differential: +9 (18 interceptions, 11 fumbles)
Cardinals make history, win fifth consecutive State Title
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
February 24, 2015
Winning a State Championship is one thing in high school football. Winning consecutive titles is another.
Matching a feat that had been done only once before by winning five in a row is in another stratosphere.
That’s exactly what Webb City High School did this past season, winning their fifth consecutive State Championship in Missouri’s Class 4. Their 5th straight title matched Valle Catholic as the only team’s in Missouri’s history to win five state titles in a row.
The Cardinals have now won 28 consecutive games dating back to last year and head coach John Roderique now has a combined 222-19 record in 18 years at the helm of Webb City. His 92% winning percentage ranks him as winningest coach in Missouri high school football history by percentage.
Webb City has now qualified for the playoffs in 14 consecutive seasons and under Roderique, the Cardinals have won 10 of the school’s 13 state titles. They have won 18 straight MHSAA playoff games to date.
The 21-point victory over the Tigers would remain as the slimmest margin of victory through the entire season as the Cardinals would continually perform well on offense, defense and special teams.
Looking even more impressive in their week two matchup, Webb City traveled to face Class 6 opponent – Rockhurst. Led by quarterback and Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year, T.J. Green, the Hawklets would advance to the Class 6 State Championship game in 2014, despite being handed a loss at the hands of the Cardinals, 40-14, for Rockhurst’s lone blemish of the regular season. The Hawklets would lose the Class 6 State Championship to Christian Brothers College, 31-24, for only their second loss of the season.
The state of Arkansas’ highest classified division sent perennial contender Har-Ber to take on Webb City in a week three matchup. The Cardinals were unfazed by the Arkansas power, dismantling the Wildcats, 42-13.
After defeating Class 5’s Republic, 49-14, Webb City took on its fourth team from a higher class when they hosted Missouri Class 5 Nixa. The Cardinals impressed not only offensively, but defensively, holding the Eagles to just 140 yards and holding them off the scoreboard until the waning stages of the fourth quarter in their 47-7 victory.
The Cardinals opened up the postseason with a bang, scoring the most points of the season, a total of 71 in their 71-0 shutout victory over McDonald County. Maquel Harbin and Trent Parra each returned an interception for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Mustangs as defensive points would be a continued trait in the playoffs.
Webb City would jump out to a 35-0 lead over Carl Junction before trouncing the Bulldogs, 42-12 to advance to the quarterfinals. Against Harrisonville in the state quarters, Drake Humphrey secured a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the Cardinals 35-0 victory.
In the state semifinals, the Cardinals faced off against the high-powered offense of Kearney. The Wildcats averaged 33.6 points per game in 2014 but were held to a mere seven points in their 38-7 ousting at the hands of Webb City.
With their victory over Kearney in the semifinals, the Cardinals advanced to their 15th state championship game appearance in school history, hunting for their fifth consecutive title.
Equally impressive as that feat, the Cardinals defense had single-handedly outscored their first five opponents of the postseason, 30-26, recording five defensive touchdowns in the five games, including three against McDonald County.
In the Missouri Class 4 State Championship ‘Show Me Bowl,’ Webb City would square off against Central High School from Cape Girardeau. The Tigers would be playing in the school’s first ever state championship appearance.
It however, wouldn’t look like their first ever appearance on the big stage in the first quarter as Central jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Quarterback Peyton Montgomery rushed for two quick scores as Webb City couldn’t muster a sustained drive in the opening 12 minutes.
That all would change however as the Cardinals, led by their own quarterback Tyson Roderique, would score four quick times in the second quarter en route to a 27-14 halftime lead.
Roderique punched in two short touchdown rushes of his own before running back Keaton Burroughs scored from 1-yard out with 0:35 seconds remaining, to give Webb City a 21-14 lead.
With just 0:18 seconds remaining Central's Montgomery would be intercepted by Harbin as he tried to force a pass. Roderique would hit all-around athlete Kiante Hardin for 30 yards on the very next play to seemingly steal the remaining momentum and take a two-possession lead into the break.
The Tigers would get no closer than that in the second half, allowing Hardin to rush for a score from 15 yards out. Central would score one last time on a 38-yard pass from Montgomery to Jalen Reddin before Webb City would add two insurance touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
The 48-21 final would cap a perfect season for the Cardinals and their fifth consecutive state title.
Final Score Webb City 48 Cape Central 21 STATE CHAMPIONS!!!!!— Webb City Schools (@WebbCitySchools) November 29, 2014
The Cardinals, despite losing several seniors from 2014, including Hardin who will attend Minnesota next fall to play for former Webb City head coach Jerry Kill, will return their quarterback in Roderique. With a returning signal-caller and the state's all time winningest head coach in terms of percentage, there is no doubt the Cardinals will be ready when the fall season starts.
Webb City will look to become the first ever team in Missouri high school football history to win six consecutive state titles as they will enter the 2015 fall season as arguably the state’s No. 1 team.
Offensive stat leaders
Rushing: Tyler Davison (1247 yards)
Passing: Tyson Roderique (1110 yards)
Receiving: Kiante Hardin (678 yards)
All-Purpose: Kiante Hardin (1290 yards)
Touchdowns: Keaton Burroughs (20)
Rush attempts: Tyler Davison (150 carries)
Receptions: Kiante Hardin (33 catches)
Defensive stat leaders
Total tackles: Kolesen Crane (54)
Tackles for loss: Kolesen Crane (12.5)
Sacks: Austin Carter (5)
Interceptions: Maquel Harbin (6)
Pass break ups: Kiante Hardin (13)
Fumbles forced: Drake Humphrey (3)
Fumbles recovered: Tyson Roderique (4)
Total scoring: 663 points
Opponent scoring: 122
Total offense: 5868 yards
Total rushing yards: 4663 yards
Total passing yards: 1205 yards
Opponent offense: 2559 yards
Opponent rushing yards: 1443 yards
Opponent passing yards: 1116 yards
Third down conversions: 49.7% (71/143)
Opponent third down conversions: 24.9% (45/181)
Turnover differential: +19 (19 interceptions, 18 fumbles)
Eagles win 13 straight, defeat New London-Spicer to win title
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
February 18, 2015
For the second time in five seasons, Lourdes High School football team was crowned champions of Minnesota’s Class AAA. The 2014 campaign echoed the Eagles’ 2010 season as both squads finished the season undefeated and looked impressive in doing so.
In 2014, Lourdes fired on all cylinders, starting with their very first game against Lewiston-Altura. In the game against the Cardinals, Lourdes scored in three different ways in the first half alone, including returning a fumble for a touchdown early in the first quarter. The Eagles had six different players score in the 46-14 rout of Lewiston-Altura.
Against a higher classified Kasson-Mantorville squad, Lourdes may have looked their most impressive, building a 35-0 lead heading in to the fourth quarter. The Eagles defeated the Komets, 35-13 behind three touchdown passes from quarterback Noah Hillman and two rushing touchdowns by running back Zach Hillman.
Running back Mason Carstens had himself an impressive game in week four against Cannon Falls, rushing just seven times for 112 yards and three scores. Lourdes defense also played a major role in the 39-0 defeat of the Bombers.
They opened their 2014 playoff run against Lake City, whom they had just defeated, two weeks earlier.
In their first matchup, Lourdes scored 15 points in a matter of five minutes to open the game, and didn’t look back. In their second meeting, the Eagles didn’t quite score as fast, but did build a 21-0 lead in the first half before shutting out the Tigers, 42-0, to advance.
Carstens and Zach Hillman each ran for over 100 yards as the Eagles had five different players record a touchdown against Lake City.
In round two of the playoffs, another rematch presented itself to the Eagles, as Plainview-Elgin-Millville would come to Rochester. The Bulldogs were limited to just 145 total yards in the first meeting, and while they may have gained 343 yards in their postseason matchup, Lourdes built a 39-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Plainview-Elgin-Millville gained the majority of their yards in the fourth quarter, after the game was in hand for the Eagles, as they defeated the Bulldogs, 39-14.
In their state quarterfinals matchup, Lourdes would be pitted against defending champion St. Croix Lutheran, in what would be their toughest game to date.
The Eagles didn’t let the hype of the defending champions or an early 14-6 deficit get in their way however, answering with 22 unanswered points before taking a 23-21 lead into halftime.
After increasing their lead to 30-21 in the third quarter, St. Croix Lutheran closed the gap with a score on the first play of the fourth quarter, inching to within two points, down 30-28. That would be the closest they would get however as Lourdes shut the door with their next drive.
Carstens punched in a 6-yard touchdown run to increase the Eagles lead back to two possessions. Nick Steinmetz would intercept a Joshua Tietz pass on the Crusaders ensuing possession, returning it for a touchdown that sealed the victory, 43-28.
Advancing to the state semifinals for the third season in a row, Lourdes would have to get by the undefeated Pierz Pioneers if they wanted to advance to the state championship game.
The Eagles did just that. And they did it in nearly the most dramatic fashion you could think of.
In a true back-and-forth game, Lourdes and Pierz traded scores in the first three quarters before ending the fourth, tied at 17 points apiece.
Pierz received the ball first in overtime, scoring on a 1-yard Robert Skiba rush to give the Pioneers a 24-17 lead. On the ensuing possession for Lourdes, it took just three plays for Zach Hillman to punch the ball in from two yards out, and give Lourdes the chance to tie the game with an extra point, or risk it all and go for the two-point conversion to win.
A true win or lose moment would come to fruition as head coach Mike Kesler decided to go for the two-point attempt, and the win.
The call was an option run up the middle. Running back Carter Greguson took the handoff up the middle only to be stuffed by the Pierz defense. It was at this point that the improbable took place. Greguson pitched the ball backwards to the very man who had just given him the ball, QB Noah Hillman.
Hillman, seemingly out of the play and left alone in the backfield, had a slight opening two and a half yards away from the end zone that he pushed through, into the end zone for the most important two points of his career.
For those of you who missed it: http://t.co/ncSe5WSlcm— LHS Eagles Athletics (@LHSEagles) November 17, 2014
The Eagles successful two-point conversion, though maybe not how it was drawn up, would be enough to defeat the Pioneers, 25-24 and advance to the state championship for the second time in three years, and third time in five.
The opponent would be a familiar one even though nearly 200 miles separated them. New London-Spicer would be that foe. A foe that had defeated Lourdes a season ago in the state semifinals. A foe who also defeated their previous opponent by one point. The same team that lost in the state championship game to St. Croix Lutheran last season.
Much like their meeting in 2013, the Eagles and Wildcats would alternate scores in the first two quarters and head to halftime with a seven point difference in points. Only difference in 2014 was that it was Lourdes who took a 21-14 lead as opposed to the Wildcats 20-13 advantage a season ago.
Unlike their game in 2013 however, the second half would be all Eagles, scoring once in each of the final two quarters, while holding New London-Spicer off the scoreboard completely. Greguson’s 10-yard touchdown run with 3:08 all but ended the game as it gave Lourdes a 35-14 advantage and would be the final points of the Minnesota Class AAA season.
The Eagles outlasted and exacted revenge against the Wildcats in 2014 to be crowned State Champions. The title is Lourdes third in school history and first since the 2010 squad finished the season 14-0.
Lourdes defeated New London-Spicer to become the 2014 Minnesota Class AAA State Champions (Photo from lhsfootball.com)
Despite the graduations of several players including running back Zach Hillman, the 2015 team will return quarterback Noah Hillman and running back/middle linebacker Greguson for what could be a return to the state championship this fall. After an undefeated season, exacting revenge on the team who knocked you out of the playoffs a season prior and defeating the defending champs, Lourdes will look to build on their successful 2014 campaign.
The 2014 Lourdes team completed one of the more impressive seasons across not only the state of Minnesota, but across the entire country as very few can say they accomplished the things the Eagles did.
Offensive stat leaders
Rushing: Zach Hillman (1193 yards)
Passing: Noah Hillman (904 yards)
Receiving: James Ustby (313 yards)
All-Purpose: Zach Hillman (1680 yards)
Touchdowns: Zach Hillman (18)
Rush attempts: Zach Hillman (154 carries)
Receptions: James Ustby (10 catches)
Defensive stat leaders
Interceptions: Nick Steinmetz (4)
Fumbles forced: Steven O’Brien (2)
Fumbles recovered: Zach Hillman (3)
Total scoring: 509 points
Opponent scoring: 167
Total offense: 4756 yards
Total rushing yards: 3827 yards
Total passing yards: 929 yards
Opponent offense: 3006 yards
Opponent rushing yards: 1816 yards
Opponent passing yards: 1190 yards
Third down conversions: 41.8% (51/122)
Opponent third down conversions: 33.7% (59/175)
Turnover differential: +13 (16 interceptions, 10 fumbles)
Falcons end Ithaca's 69-game win streak, win state title
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
February 16, 2015
The Falcons of St. Mary Catholic Central High School ran their way to the Michigan Class 6 State Championship in 2014. Behind the legs of Justin Carrabino, John Lako and Mitchell Lamour, the Falcons finished the year 13-1 and defeated Ithaca, 22-12 to claim the title.
The Falcons defeat of the Yellow Jackets crowned SMCC as the top team in Michigan’s Class 6 and earned the school its second State Championship in its history. The victory over Ithaca also saw the Yellow Jackets four-year reign as Class 6 Champions ended. Ithaca had won the last four State Championship in Michigan’s Class 6.
To get to the championship, St. Mary Catholic Central seemed nearly unbeatable in the opening stages of 2014.
To kick the season off, the Falcons dismantled Tecumseh, 35-13 by rushing for 438 yards and three rushing scores. Quarterback Bryce Windham threw for two touchdowns on just three completions in the game, setting the tone early as SMCC jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead before cruising to the victory.
St. Mary Catholic Central hosted two more games to start the season, blowing out Flat Rock, 42-0 before defeating Huron, 40-7. The Falcons ran for a combined 567 yards in those two victories as Lako, Lamour and Carrabino ran for a combined nine touchdowns in the two games.
Hitting the road for the first time, SMCC scored a touchdown in each quarter against Grosse Ile, defeating Red Devils, 28-0. The Falcons then traveled to take on Airport, defeating the Jets, 28-7 behind 348 rushing yards.
Their defense would shut out their next two opponents, a 43-0 defeat of Milan, followed by a 33-0 victory over Riverview Community. Continuing the impressive start to the season, the Falcons easily improved their record to 8-0 with a 47-7 undoing of Jefferson in which Lako ran for 127 yards and three touchdowns. Windham also completed 3-of-3 pass attempts for 114 yards and three touchdowns.
However, all momentum was stopped the next week as SMCC traveled to Lansing to take on Lansing Catholic. Despite taking an 8-7 lead into the second quarter, Lansing scored on the first play from scrimmage in the 2nd before scoring again before halftime to push their lead to 21-8 at the break.
On the last play of the third quarter, St. Mary Catholic Central’s Windham would hit David Howey for 46 yards and a touchdown to cut the lead to 21-15.
The Cougars conversely took the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown to swing momentum back in their favor. They would hold on to defeat the Falcons, 27-22 to knock SMCC from the ranks of the unbeaten heading in to the playoffs.
The loss to Lansing Catholic spelled doom for Grass Lake, who happened to be St. Mary Catholic Central’s opening round opponent.
The Falcons torched the Warriors for 42 points in the first quarter alone before ultimately defeating Grass Lake, 62-8. SMCC forced three turnovers and gained 351 total yards to Grass Lake’s 95.
In the regional final against Lumen Christi, the Falcons would ultimately advance after a failed extra point attempt by Titans kicker Will Davis. In a back and forth affair, SMCC and Lumen Christi alternated scores, almost identically. After the Falcons scored in the first and missed their point after, the Titans answered with a touchdown of their own, only to have their extra point blocked.
They would alternate similar scores through the first three quarters as they headed in to the final quarter, tied at 20. The Titans’ Hunter Page would run in his fourth touchdown of the game in the early stages of the fourth quarter to give Lumen Christi a 26-20 lead after Davis’ PAT was no good.
The Falcons would calmly drive down the field and answer with a touchdown themselves. On this score, the game-deciding extra point kick was punched through the uprights by Phillip Lehmann to give SMCC a 27-26 victory. The Titans would turn the ball over on their two ensuing possessions as the final interception would end the game for Lumen Christi.
Following their close victory against the Titans, St. Mary Catholic Central would then take on North Pointe Christian. The Mustangs would be no match in the state semifinals for the Falcons as SMCC scored a touchdown in each quarter again, defeating NPC, 28-0 to advance to the state championship.
The Falcons advanced to the school’s ninth ever appearance in the state title. Ithaca would await SMCC as the Yellow Jackets were four-time defending Class 6 State Champions. Ithaca were winners of 69 consecutive games dating back to September 27, 2010.
All of that aside, the Falcons, much like all season, calmly headed in to Ford Field on November 28 with level heads and a mission to complete.
Looking much like a team destined to overthrow the long-tenured champs, the Falcons took the opening possession of the game 17-play drive that spanned 8:15 minutes. Lako capped the impressive drive with a touchdown rush from two yards out and an early 8-0 lead after a successful two-point conversion.
The teams would then sputter offensively as Ithaca was forced to punt and the Falcons would squander away possession on a Lako fumble.
The Yellow Jackets would score early in the second quarter but unsuccessfully attempt a two-point conversion, pushing the score to 8-6 early in the second.
After their ensuing drive stalled, the Falcons were forced to punt. Jake Smith received the punt for Ithaca, but would fumble during his return. That fumble was picked up by SMCC’s Travis Vuich and returned for a touchdown and a momentum-shifting 15-6 lead.
However, Ithaca would answer as Smith atoned for his earlier turnover, rushing the ball in from two yards out. A missed extra point gave the Falcons a 15-12 lead at halftime.
The third quarter would pass by scoreless and the final quarter of Class 6 football would decide the championship. After a 14-play drive ended with a sack and a punt for the Falcons, Ithaca took over possession from their own 20 and 2:46 left on the clock, down 15-12.
After being sacked on second down and tossing an incompletion on third, Smith’s 4th and 22 pass was intercepted by Darius Marks and returned to the Yellow Jackets five yard line.
Lako would put the game-sealing score on the board for the Falcons just one play later, punching the ball in from the three-yard line. After forcing a turnover on downs on the Yellow Jackets next possession, the final score of 22-12 would be enough to dethrone Ithaca and give the Falcons their first State Championship since 1991.
Lako finished with two scores on the ground while also leading the team with his 5.5 tackles and one sack.
The Falcons finished the season on the highest of notes, and became the first team to defeat the Yellow Jackets in over four years.
Victory press conference. pic.twitter.com/VTu8L9UBMh— SMCC Monroe (@SMCCMonroe) November 29, 2014
Head Coach Jack Giarmo announced after the season that he would not be returning to SMCC in 2015 as head coach, as he would retire from coaching as a champion. He retires with a 145-54 all-time record as coach of the Falcons. Giarmo had served as head coach since 1998.
Of the backfield trio, only Carrabino will return in 2015 for the Falcons as St. Mary Catholic Central will also lose Windham to graduation. For now however, SMCC can relish in the fact that they were the team that toppled Ithaca for the first time since 2010.
That’s something to be proud of.
Oh, and that State Championship that comes with that.
Offensive stat leaders
Rushing: Justin Carrabino (1404 yards)
Passing: Bryce Windham (936 yards)
Receiving: Travis Vuich (543 yards)
All-Purpose: Justin Carrabino (1964 yards)
Touchdowns: Justin Carrabino (21)
Rush attempts: Justin Carrabino (210 carries)
Receptions: Travis Vuich (28 catches)
Defensive stat leaders
Total tackles: Troy Hilkens (56)
Sacks: John Lako (5.5)
Tackles for loss: John Lako (11)
Pass break ups: Bryce Windham (16)
Interceptions: Bryce Windham (8)
Total scoring: 507 points
Opponent scoring: 122
Total offense: 4838 yards
Total rushing yards: 3902 yards
Total passing yards: 936 yards
Opponent offense: 2657 yards
Opponent rushing yards: 1684 yards
Opponent passing yards: 973 yards
Third down conversions: 52.8% (75/142)
Opponent third down conversions: 27.0% (41/152)
Turnover differential: +14 (18 interceptions, 9 fumbles)
Sailors win 12 straight, capture second title in three years
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
February 13, 2015
After a rocky start to their 2014 campaign, the South Christian High School football team righted their ship last fall. Pun intended, as the Sailors rattled off 12 straight victories en route to the 2014 Michigan Class 4 State Championship.
Starting off their season on a sour note seems to be becoming a thing of normalcy for South Christian. In the last three seasons, they have dropped one or more of their first two games. However, those losses may be catalysts to a successful season as each of the past three years, the Sailors have made it to the State Championship game at Ford Field in Detroit.
However, unlike the previous two seasons in which they lost only one of their first two games, the Sailors dropped their opening two contests, the first, a hard fought game to Grand Rapids Christian, 28-14. The second game, they were dealt an even bigger blow in a disappointing game 47-21 loss to Caledonia, in which wide receiver Eric VanVoorst went down with a broken ankle.
VanVoorst broke his ankle on a simple screen pass in the second game of his senior season. During his junior campaign, he and fellow senior, quarterback Jon Wassink created a remarkable duo, as Wassink connected on nearly 40 percent of his passes to VanVoorst.
VanVoorst caught 84 balls for 1,094 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior.
The loss of VanVoorst and the consecutive losses in their first two games seemed to spark the Sailors in 2014 however.
After an exciting overtime victory over Unity Christian, 33-30, South Christian put on several impressive displays in wins against Forest Hills Eastern (34-14), Catholic Central (41-14), Ottawa Hills (51-0) and Hastings (48-24).
The Sailors fell behind early against Thornapple Kellogg after their opening kickoff was returned for a touchdown. After that, the two teams played an evenly matched back-and-forth game that wasn’t decided until running back Geff Plasman put the icing on the cake with a 42-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. South Christian won the game against the Trojans by a score of 35-23.
In one of their final two regular season games, the Sailors needed some second half help after nearly giving up a 27-point first half lead against Wayland. Despite getting within nine points, 27-18, South Christian would defeat the Wildcats 54-30. In the regular season finale’, South Christian cruised past Allendale, 35-0 and would hope to ride their momentum into the playoffs.
To start postseason play, the Sailors would again take on Unity Christian. This time, however, no extra period would be needed as Wassink and the Sailors would score 20 unanswered points in the third and fourth quarter to put the game away, 58-34.
Wassink ran for a season- and career-high 298 rushing yards against the Crusaders while scoring five touchdowns on the ground and throwing two more.
He would continue his impressive running game in South Christian’s second round playoff game against Whitehall. Wassink ran for 176 yards and two touchdowns as the Sailors built a 35-0 lead before ultimately defeating the Vikings, 49-14.
In the state semifinals matchup against Edwardsburg, the Sailors were given a boost as VanVoorst would return from his broken ankle.
In most cases, a player returning from such a horrific incident may shy away from the ball or the head coach may shy away from giving him the ball. Not in the Sailors case however as the first play from scrimmage for South Christian was a pass to VanVoorst who caught it and gained seven yards.
Wassink would then lead the Sailors to another 35-point first half, however, unlike their easy victory a week prior, he would need to put more points than that to hold on to the victory against the Eddies.
After Edwardsburg closed the gap to 42-34, Wassink calmly led his team down field, connecting on passes to Plasman and VanVoorst before rushing the ball two times and the eventual game-winning score. That’s not to say there wasn’t some suspense in the waning moments of this game however.
Eddies running back Dante Razzano scored on a 60-yard rush to cut the deficit to 50-42 before the ensuing kickoff would be fumbled and recovered by Edwardsburg. Dustin Vires would score on a 38-yard rush just two plays later to further cut the South Christian lead to 50-48.
That is as close as Edwardsburg would get however, as the Sailor defense stopped the two-point conversion attempt and Wassink would run the clock out for South Christian on their next possession. In his return, VanVoorst recorded six receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
The State Championship game would prove to be nearly as exciting for the Sailors as they were pitted against the Sexton Big Reds. The two evenly matched teams traded blows in the first half and went to halftime with South Christian leading, 20-14.
Wassink would break the game open with a 68-yard touchdown run on the opening play of the third quarter to give his team a 28-14 lead, following a successful two-point conversion.
The Big Reds however would miss their extra point on Mack’s touchdown pass, giving the Sailors a 28-27 lead and the ball with 10:43 left in the game.
Wassink would chew up over five minutes on their ensuing possession before punting the ball himself and pinning the Big Reds back on their own 26 yard line. Mack would fumble just four plays later and Wassink would take another 1:30 off the clock before punting again.
This time, however, Wassink’s punt would pin Sexton at their own seven yard line with 3:48 left.
Despite driving the ball nearly to midfield over the next nine plays, time would run out on Sexton’s chances and their season, giving South Christian and their class of 21 seniors the 2014 Michigan Class 4 State Championship, 28-27.
Wassink would finally hold on to his first State Championship trophy after coming close a year prior and being injured during the Sailors title game in 2012. The Western Michigan signee finished his career with 8,072 yards and 76 touchdowns through the air while rushing for 3,241 yards and another 50 scores on the ground.
Head Coach Mark Tamminga will have to replace Wassink along with 20 other seniors on a team that has reached the state championship game in three consecutive years. But that’s next fall.
For now, the Sailors are 2014 Michigan Class 4 State Champs.
Offensive stat leaders
Rushing: Jon Wassink (1347 yards)
Passing: Jon Wassink (2489 yards)
Receiving: Ryan Veenstra (701 yards)
All-Purpose: Geff Plasman (1984 yards)
Touchdowns: Geff Plasman (25)
Rush attempts: Geff Plasman (216 carries)
Receptions: Ryan Veenstra (48 catches)
Defensive stat leaders
Total tackles: Sam Heyboer (87)
Sacks: Sam Heyboer (11)
Tackles for loss: Sam Heyboer (22.5)
Interceptions: Jon Wassink (6)
Total scoring: 551 points
Opponent scoring: 333
Total offense: 5559 yards
Total rushing yards: 2962 yards
Total passing yards: 2597 yards
Opponent offense: 4132 yards
Opponent rushing yards: 2690 yards
Opponent passing yards: 1442 yards
Third down conversions: 44.1% (56/127)
Opponent third down conversions: 31.3% (50/160)
Turnover differential: +7 (13 interceptions, 18 fumbles)