Lumen Christi Catholic High School running back Walker Plate looks for an opening during the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 7 semifinals at Novi High School. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
By Jeff Steers
Something had to give when a team that has only given up 52 points through 12 games met an offensive juggernaut that has ran over people all season.
In the end, big plays were the difference in the Lumen Christi Catholic High School and Cass City Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 7 semifinal matchup on Saturday in Novi.
Lumen Christi had nearly 400 yards of offense in a 27-0 win over Cass City. The Titans (12-0) will advance to the MHSAA Division 7 final at Ford Field next Saturday against Pewamo-Westphalia (13-0). The title game is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.
The Red Hawks finished the season with an 11-2 record and their first appearance in the semifinals.
Lumen will be making its fourth consecutive state finals appearance, having won titles three consecutive titles in Division 6.
Cass City had given up only 52 points in 12 games coming into the D-7 semifinals. Lumen proved it has a pretty good defense that can stop running attacks.
“Our defense played a great ball game,” LCCHS Coach Herb Brogan said. “We gave up some yardage, but we had a three-touchdown lead.
“Cass City was running a lot of time off the clock.”
Both teams struggled to move the ball to start the game. A big play by senior quarterback Brendan Wilson to senior receiver Jack Kelley opened up the contest. Kelley caught an 80-yard pass to end the first quarter.
Coaches notice his defender had fallen down on a play earlier in the contest.
“They decided to give me a chance at a long one,” Kelley said.
Kelley caught the perfect pass over his shoulder and raced to the 3-yard line. Lumen Christi three plays later on a 1-yard run by Johnny Teachout. The extra point by Kevin Salazar gave the Titans a 7-0 lead.
Cass City failed to gain a first down, and a head-up return by Kelley on a short punt gave the Titans a short field two series later.
Walker Plate scored his first touchdown of the game on a 15-yard run. The extra point snap was fumbled and the Titans could not convert for a 13-0 lead.
It only took one play for the Titans to score on its next possession as Plate raced 40 yards for a score at the 1:30 mark of the second quarter for a 20-0 halftime lead.
The Titans racked up 225 offensive yards in the first half against Cass City.
The Red Hawks marched 12 plays to start the second half, but an interception by Plate thwarted the drive.
Plate returned the interception 83 yards for the Titans’ final score.
Brody Dalton finished with 14 tackles and Riley Eaker finished with seven tackles for the Titans.
Offensively, Plate rushed for 126 yards on only 19 carries in the game. Kelley caught two passes for 96 yards for the Titans.