Williamston falls to Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 27-23, in the Division 4 high school football championship

Jake Thielen | MLive.com, November 29, 2010 1:40 p.m.

Williamston High School’s dream season ended with a heartbreaking defeat, as the Hornets lost the Division 4 football championship game to Grand Rapids Catholic Central in the final minute, 27-23.

Williamston led the game by 10 points with under four minutes to play, but couldn’t hold on for the victory.

A Catholic Central touchdown with 3:30 left cut the Williamston lead to three points, and the Cougars’ defense forced Williamston to go three-and-out on its ensuing possession.

Catholic Central then drove 64 yards in 12 plays for the go-ahead score. Miles Morrissey’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Vicari gave the Cougars a 27-23 lead with 57 seconds left in the game.

Williamston got the ball back at its own 15-yard line with 50 seconds left and two timeouts to spare, but the comeback attempt fell short as Catholic Central’s Joey Bowen intercepted a pass from Hornet quarterback Dylan Schultz with 26 seconds left.

Williamston coach Steve Kersten said he was proud of the way his team played, despite the loss.

“It was an unbelievable season, a dream season,” Kersten said. “We’re very disappointed right now, and it’s just sad.

“I’m so proud of our kids. They battled all year for us and did everything we asked them to do. It’s time to heal right now, but we’ll look back on this season and say ‘what a tremendous season’ for our fans and for our kids.”

Kersten said the difference in the game was the offense’s inability to get a first down in the final minutes.

“That clock was going, and I thought we had them,” Kersten said. “There’s always six or seven plays that are the difference in the game, and you never know when the six or seven are.

“I’m the offensive coordinator and we didn’t move the ball and get a couple first downs there when (the clock) was at 3:30, and so it’s on my shoulders.”

The Hornets seemed to be in control of the game early. A 2-yard touchdown run by Schultz and a 42-yard field goal by Colin Weiss gave the Hornets a 10-3 lead going into halftime.

The Hornet defense was dominant in the first half, as they held Catholic Central running back Bronson Hill to just 42 yards on nine carries through two quarters and intercepted Morrissey three times.

After Catholic Central rallied to take a 13-10 lead in the third quarter, Williamston answered right back. A 6-yard touchdown run from Dylan Monette and a 39-yard touchdown run from Schultz put the Hornets back on top, 23-13, but Williamston could not hold its lead.

Schultz finished the game with 181 yards on 13-of-20 passing with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Schultz also ran the ball 10 times for 65 yards and two touchdowns, and he had one catch for 9 yards.

Kersten said he was impressed with Schultz’s performance.

“Dylan Schultz is a warrior,” Kersten said.  “He plays offense and defense and battles for us, and I thought he did a great job.”

Schultz was disappointed with the loss, but he credited Catholic Central for playing a great game.

“Every team we played was good,” Schultz said. “These guys were a hell of a team.

“They were fast and disciplined. Hats off to them for winning.”

Monette agreed with Schultz.

“We had them, but I give (Catholic Central) credit,” Monette said. “They didn’t give up when they were down and they came back and made plays when they had to.”

Monette finished the game with 197 all-purpose yards and one touchdown. He led the team with five catches for 102 yards.

Williamston was making its first trip to the state finals, one year after the Hornets earned the first football playoff victory in school history. Williamston finished the season with a record of 12-2.

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Posted on April 27, 2011, in MLive, Sports and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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