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Napoleon High School quarterback Grant Bradley recorded more than 100 yards of offense – including this key run – in the Pirates’ 14-7 win over Monroe St. Mary on Friday for the regional title. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.

Regional Wins Set up Lumen, Napoleon Football Showdown

By Jeff Steers
JTV Sports

(November 12, 2022 7:01 AM) A strong defensive effort, hard running by Bart Laretz, and surviving a last-second fumble has the Napoleon High School varsity football team saying, “Hello Lumen!”

Napoleon defeated Monroe St. Mary 14-7 on the road Friday for its first regional football title in school history.

A 7-6 win over Lawton at home has Lumen Christi in another state semifinal next Saturday at 1 p.m. 

The Michigan High School Athletic Association has yet to determine the site of the game. 

The two wins guarantee a Jackson County school will advance to Ford Field to play in the Division 7 state finals on Nov. 26 at 10 a.m. 

Napoleon 14, Monroe St. Mary 7: The Pirates are riding a hot defense throughout the playoffs, allowing only 20 points in three games to win the school’s first regional title in football. Senior linebacker Joey Hamlin said the Pirates played well and made good reads in the contest. “We knew we could do it and just played our game,” Hamlin said. “We had the big guys pushing (forward) and the linebackers making plays. I am proud of my teammates.” Napoleon scored on its first possession with an impressive 11 play, 88-yard drive. Bart Laretz scored on a 2-yard run at the 5:49 mark and the kick by Cooper Wyers gave the Pirates a 7-0 lead. But Monroe St. Mary tied the game late in the second quarter on a 14-play drive that covered 54 yards. Carson Kinsey scored for Monroe on a 6-yard run to tie the score. Napoleon drove the ball late in the quarter, but missed on a 41-yard field goal try. The Pirates wasted no time scoring in the second half on an impressive 13-play, 65-yard drive that culminated on a 5-yard touchdown run by Laretz. A fourth-and-two run by Mason Roth kept the drive going at the Pirates’ 20 yard line. Monroe was stopped three times in the final half on downs by the aggressive Napoleon defense. “Tom Johns does an amazing job getting our defense ready each week,” NHS Coach Derek Shell said. “They (Monroe St. Mary) had to work hard to score.” Laretz finished with 139 rushing yards including a lot of yards after the first hit from the defense. Grant Bradley three for 42 yards and rushed for 64 yards in the win. Napoleon is 12-0 on the season with the regional victory. 

Joe Lathers (12) of Lumen Christi Catholic High School scored the only touchdown of the game for the Titans on a 48-yard run giving them a 7-6 Division 7 regional win. Photo by Bart Hawley, JTV Sports.

Lumen Christi 7, Lawton 6: The Titans trailed 6-0 at halftime, but pulled out the regional title at home Friday night. Joe Lathers scored on a 48-yard run later in the third quarter and the extra point by Andrew Salazar gave Lumen Christi the lead. That would be all the Titans would need to advance to the state semifinals for the sixth time in seven seasons. Lathers finished with 83 rushing yards and 64 passing yards for the Titans. Derrick Walker ran seven times for 42 yards and Gabe King caught four passes for 47 yards for Lumen Christi (9-3). Devian Franklin led the defense with 13 tackles and Reid Garcia added nine stops for Lumen Christi. Lathers recorded eight tackles, Conor Smith made seven stops, and Britton Hampton recovered a fumble for the Titans. Semifinal games are traditionally played on Saturdays at 1 p.m. at a location that is an equal distance for both schools. An announcement of the site is expected on Monday. 

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