Loyola defeats Isheming 29-8 to take Division 7 title
Detroit – Saturday was three years in the making for Detroit Loyola.
After appearing in the previous two state championship games against Ishpeming, the Bulldogs came up just short of winning a state title, as the Hematites went on to win back-to-back state titles in Division 7.
But when the two teams met in the Division 7 final on Saturday for the third straight year, Loyola was sure to produce a different result.
Loyola fell behind early, but rattled off each of the next 29 points to pick up a 29-8 win over Ishpeming to clinch its first state championship in any sport for the Bulldogs behind a big effort from senior running back Marvin Campbell.
Loyola coach John Callahan, who missed his team’s final two practices this week because of an illness, said that the experience of playing in two previous state title games was a big difference for his team as his senior class played a big role in the previous two trips.
“I think it’s just experience,” he said. “These seniors all played as sophomores and they were young cocky sophomores and thought here we are and this is ours and then, oops. They met a team that was disciplined and knows how to play.”
After Ishpeming (12-1) took an early 8-0 lead on a one yard run by Ozzy Corp, Loyola responded with a 47 yard touchdown run by Campbell with 11:47 left in the second quarter to tie it at 8-8.
Campbell then gave Loyola (14-0) its first lead over Ishpeming in three years as he scored on an eight yard run that gave the Bulldogs a 16-8 lead with 6:39 to go before halftime.
Campbell opened up the second half with a 66 yard touchdown run less than three minutes into the third quarter to put Loyola up by two scores, 22-8, as the Bulldogs started pulling away.
“It’s an honor to be here and be in the company of it,” Callahan said of the win. “I know how much work it takes and wha everyone else who has gotten here has gone through, the hardships and things that you guys don’t even know about and you try to patch things. It’s a pretty good feeling.”
Campbell sealed the win for the Bulldogs as he danced around defenders and dove in the end zone with just 3:15 left to play from five yards out to push the lead to 29-7.
Campbell said that one of his offensive lineman told him to follow his blocks to the end zone and that’s what sprung him to get into the end zone, along with a couple of moves on defenders.
“It was fourth down and I knew I had to get in the end zone,” he said. “Alonte (Rice) told me to follow him and that’s what I did. I think I stiff armed a guy and turned back around and made a cut and dove in the end zone.”
“I know we sealed the deal, but I was tired, but I just knew I had to get it in there.”
Campbell finished the game with 215 yards on 21 carries and four touchdowns to lead the way for Loyola.
For Ishpeming, a third straight trip to the state title game with a team that returned just five starters from last year’s state championship team, something coach Jeff Olson said is something that is special to be apart of for his program.
“That is very special,” he said. “People don’t understand how hard it is to get here and to do it three times in a row and to win two of them. People think it gets easier and they’ll be back next year, but there’s so much involved and we had some tough teams that we had to play along the way and you’ve got to beat those teams and they’re giving you everything they have. You can’t just have talent, you have to have great kids and we have that.”