DIVISION 7: New Lothrop outlasts Madison Heights Madison in highest-scoring state final ever, winning first title since ’06
DETROIT — Keeping up its high-octane ways, New Lothrop claimed a Division 7 state title by outdueling Madison Heights Madison 50-44 at Ford Field Saturday in the highest-scoring state football final in state history.
The Hornets (13-1) averaged more than 40 points per outing this year, reaching or topping the 50-point plateau in half of its games.
Junior quarterback Avery Moore rushed for 138 yards and four touchdowns and posted 100 yards in the air on 7-of-14 passing to headline New Lothrop’s prodigious offensive assault Saturday.
His two scrambles for scores (6, 13 yards) in the closing 3:30 of the contest pushed his team to the summit of the mountain in a game the Hornets saw Madison tie things 36-36 midway through the fourth quarter on Madison all-state senior signal caller Austin Brown’s fourth rushing touchdown of the day with 6:38 left.
Madison missed the ensuing extra point and failed to push in front for the first time in the second half.
Moore scored what ended up being the game-winner from 6 yards out on a nine-play, 65 yard drive at the 3:27 mark. Hornets’ nickel-dime back Dylan Shaydik intercepted Brown on the next possession, setting the stage for Moore’s final touchdown trot of the fast-tempo affair. Brown found Sylvester Whitley for his sixth touchdown of the game (4 on the ground, 2 through the air) on a 9-yard fade route with 29 ticks remaining on the clock, but Moore recovered a Madison onside kick to secure the victory.
“Wow, this win feels so good, it’s still just sinking in. … We really maximized every day of our season,” New Lothrop coach Clint Galvas said. “They kept coming at us and we never wavered in our confidence. It was like, ‘Ok, give us the ball back and let’s go.’ We knew we had to come up big late and we did.”
The 94 points tallied beats the previous state championship game record of 91 scored in Belding’s 50-41 besting of Birmingham Detroit County Day in the Class B finals back in 1994. Madison (456) and New Lothrop (379) combined for 835 yards of offense in Saturday’s final. Brown (committed to Marshall for football and baseball) tore up the Ford Field turf for 298 yards passing (17-of-30) and 108 yards running on 24 carries to cap a brilliant prep career on the gridiron.
Junior cornerback Jake Graves picked off Brown on the goal line in the first half for New Lothrop and senior Missouri-commit Aidan Harrison scored twice, breaking loose for a 34-yard run in the first quarter to open the pinball-machine of a game and returning a kickoff 96 yards in the second quarter in response to Brown’s 11-yard touchdown hook-up with Makai Johnson. The Brown-to-Johnson connection had made it a one-score game (22-16) with 5:52 to go before halftime.
Harrison’s thrilling return gave the Hornets a 30-16 lead at the half. Brown knotted the game twice in the second half (30-30, 36-36) for Madison on rushing scores.
“That was two elite quarterbacks going back and forth today. … They (New Lothrop) made more plays than us in the fourth quarter and that’s to their credit,” Madison coach James Rogers said. “We were gearing up to stop their passing attack and they ran it on us better than we thought they could. That was a huge difference.”
Moore (138 yards), Harrison (100 yards) and fullback Will Muron (65 yards) joined forces for almost 300 yards on the ground (283) to fuel the Hornets’ offense. Harrison landed at New Lothrop in the offseason from Flushing and will play safety in the SEC.
Madison wraps its season at 13-1. Brown went 25-2 as a starter in an Eagles uniform. He won 46 games as a varsity starter (his first two years were spent under center at Novi Detroit Catholic Central), was the AP’s Division 7 Player of the Year in 2017 and will most likely get the nod again when the 2018 vote is counted next week.
With Saturday’s victory, New Lothrop wins its first state crown since 2006, when the Hornets were coached by Jake Emmendorfer. Galvas has been at the helm of the Hornets program for a decade and owns a 106-14 record.
The Hornets dedicated their playoff run to Galvas’ young son’s best friend, Buddy Miller, who died of cancer in the days prior to the postseason kicking off. All the New Lothrop players wore neon-green socks throughout the playoffs in honor of Miller.