20 YEARS OF STATE CHAMPS! 20 STATE CHAMPIONS SERIES: Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes 2002
Waterford — Murray Percival was the heart and soul of the 2002 Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes’ Division 8 state championship football team.
In overtime in the state finals, Percival called for the rock, got it fed to him and took it into the end zone for the crown on a do-or-die fourth-down play.
Percival’s 1-yard scoring plunge gave the Lakers a 13-10 overtime victory against Gaylord St. Mary’s and legendary WOLL head coach Mike Boyd his first and only state title on the football field.
Boyd is the greatest small-school football coach in MHSAA history and that 2002 championship was the pinnacle of his time pacing the sidelines on the gridiron. The Lakers advanced into 9 final fours between 1994 and 2006.
“I was overjoyed, the community was overjoyed,” recalled Boyd of his WOLL team’s run to the state title two decades ago.
His 361 wins is fifth-most in the MHSAA record books and the most ever from a Division 8 coach. The trip to the state championship game in 2002 was Boyd’s third and final appearance in the state finals. He piloted the WOLL football program from 1965 until his retirement and relocation to Florida in 2012.
He remembers Percival as the definition of a team captain and tough-as-nails competitor. Percival was a power rusher on offense and a menace of a middle linebacker on defense.
“Murray was our only 4-year starter, we were pretty young and he set the tone on both sides of the ball,” Boyd said. “That team fought hard for everything they got.”
The final play of overtime in the state championship game down at Ford Field in November 2002 was a perfect example.
“We were looking at 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line and it was either kick it and go double OT or go for the whole thing, so Murray looked at us, he looked at his teammates and just said ‘give me the ball,'” Boyd remembered. “I didn’t blink. My assistant coaches were giving me the ‘oh my god’ glances and I said ‘it’s on me.” I was confident putting our faith in Murray and he came through like he always did. That team knew how to finish. Murray was a closer and that whole team followed suit. They made a habit of coming up big in the clutch.”
Boyd’s quarterback that season was junior Jim Jennings. Junior tailback Anthony Anzures complimented Percival in the backfield. Jennings threw for 110 yards in the state finals and Anzures rushed for 118 yards and a first-half touchdown.
WOLL went 12-2 in the 2002 campaign. Boyd and others didn’t necessarily see the season concluding with a state crown because of the youth factor and Percival being one of only three seniors on the squad.
“I don’t think anybody at the beginning of the season expected us to be at Ford Field raising a state championship, but it was one of those magical things, everything came together at once and we rode that momentum to some pretty special memories and legacy-defining moments,” Boyd said. “That team lived for fourth down. They thrived under pressure.”
Boyd also coached softball and basketball at WOLL in his near half-century heading the Lakers athletic program. On the softball field, Boyd won more than 700 games and his squads captured 8 state titles. In boys basketball, his 1993 club went to the Class D final four.