FOOTBALL: Marine City wins high-scoring affair, claims D4 state title
DETROIT – As adages go, it’s one of the oldest ones in the book
Entering Friday night’s Division 4 state championship game at Ford Field, Marine City was well aware that if it wanted to be the champs, it had to beat the champs.
Plain and simple.
Facing defending state champion Grand Rapids South Christian, Marine City had its hands full, but flurried late to pull away for an exciting 49-35 win and its first state title in six years.
Mariners head coach Ron Glodich said that he was confident if the game was close by the time the fourth quarter came around, he knew his team would be able to come out on top
Tied 28-28 with five minutes left to play in the third quarter, Marine City scored three of the final four touchdowns of the evening to collect the crown.
“I told my guys that if we stayed with them until the fourth quarter, then I guaranteed that you’d have more in your tank than what they do,” Glodich said. “And that proved right tonight.”
Marine City junior quarterback Alex Merchant found senior Pete Patsalis for a 65 yard touchdown to give the Mariners a 35-28 advantage with five minutes left in the third quarter.
Then, just six seconds into the fourth quarter, junior tailback Jarrett Mathison punched in a touchdown run from one- yard placing Marine City on top by two scores 42-28 and firmly seizing the game’s momentum.
Mathison said that he felt he was running hard all game long and then in the fourth quarter his coaches rewarded him with putting the ball in his hands as the Mariners tried to drain the clock late.
“It’s not that important for me to have the ball in my hands, it’s up to the coaches,” said Mathison, who also had the first ever kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half in state finals history as well as two interceptions on the defensive side of the ball. “I just felt like I was running hard that game and they gave it to me and I just put my head down and ran.”
South Christian closed the deficit back down to just one score on a touchdown pass from Jon Wassink to Eric VanVoorst with 10 minutes left for the duo’s second touchdown of the game. However, Marine City managed to milk much of the clock and then pushed its lead back to two touchdowns as Merchant once again connected with Patsalis for a 20 yard touchdown with 3:45 left to play that accounted for the final play..
The 49th and final point of the night came by way of an Olivia Viney extra point, her seventh of the night, tying an MHSAA state finals record for made PATs. Earlier in the game, Viney became the first female to record a point in an MHSAA football state championship game on her first PAT of the title affair..
Glodich credited his team’s conditioning for their ability to wear down the South Christian defense late in the game, work the Mariners have put in since the summer.
“That goes back to the hard work that we put in during the summer,” he said. “These kids would come twice per day in the summer and then during the season, we’re lifting in the morning, we’re lifting at night, we did a great job of that and it paid off.”