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Lumen Christi runs for over 500 yards, hangs on to defeat Ithaca, 40-34, in the Division 6 final

By: Tom Markowski, November 24, 2017, 8:42 pm

Detroit – Back to basics.

Jackson Lumen Christi trailed 13-8 at halftime then abandoned its passing game.

It wasn’t much of a passing game. The Titans only attempted four passes but coach Herb Brogan ripped out that page of the playbook.

Good move, Herb. Lumen Christi and its offensive line bullied its way over and around Ithaca in impressive fashion and the Titans claimed their second consecutive title with a 40-34 victory in the Division 6 final at Ford Field on Friday.

“Part of our problem in the first half was our coaches,” Lumen Christi coach Herb Brogan said. “We probably tied too many things. That was probably the toughest half we’ve had all year.

“It was the first time we’d been down all year (at halftime). They out-executed us. We had some plays open. We did make more of a commitment to the run game. We said all along the offensive line was the heart and soul of our team. With our offensive line, we tend to wear people down.”

Lumen Christi rushed for over 300 yards in the first 17:20 of the second half and took a commanding 40-20 lead on Kyle Minder’s third touchdown run in the second half. His scoring runs of 4, 43 and 64 yards all but ended Ithaca’s quest for a sixth state title. Ithaca’s last title came two years ago.

For Lumen Christi (12-1), it was its 10th state title.   

Ithaca (13-1), relying on the pass-run option of quarterback Joey Bentley, scored two touchdowns in the final six minutes, the last one on a 17-yard pass from Bentley to Adam Culp with 2:27 that made it a one-score game. Ithaca’s onside kick was recovered by Sam Mizner of Lumen Christi and Minder’s two-yard run on a fourth-and-1 sealed the victory with 35 seconds left.

“(I’m) glad the clock ran out when it did,” Brogan said. “Our defense played well until the end when we missed some assignments.”

The problem with Lumen Christi’s passing game was twofold. Troy Kutcha was 2-of-4 for nine yards and one interception, and he was sacked four times for a loss of 24 yards.

Lumen Christi rushed for 514 yards on 67 attempts. Sebastian Toland had 244 yards on 33 carries and one touchdown. Minder had 206 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries. It was the first time two Titans rushed for over 200 yards this season.

Toland had 188 of his yards in the second half; Minder 140.

“It was all mental,” Toland said. “I came out in the second half and I was really relaxed.”

Lumen Christi scored first as running back Nick Thomas ran 72 yards for a touchdown. Troy Kutcha passed to Cameron White for the conversion and the Titans led, 8-0, with 3:13 left in the first quarter.

Ithaca scored two touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 13-8 lead. Devin Barnes caught a 47-yard touchdown pass from Joey Bentley and Bentley ran 51 yards for a touchdown to give the Yellowjackets that lead.

 Bentley played well. He was 11-of-20 for 240 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions. He rushed for 89 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries.

Both teams scored five touchdowns and the difference was Lumen Christi’s five, two-point conversions.

“We weren’t able to get enough stops,” Ithaca coach Terry Hessbrook said. “Our challenge was to get off the field. Credit them.

“When you coach a team, you can only ask that they play as hard as they can.

“We knew Toland would be one of the fastest backs we’ve played. And we’ve faced some fast one here.”