Lumen Christi wins third consecutive title, 42-28, over Montague in D6 final
DETROIT — Jackson Lumen Christi has one of the most storied football programs in the state and the Titans added to that lore on Friday.
Lumen Christi wore down Montague in the MHSAA Division 6 final and won its third consecutive title, 11th overall, with a 42-28 victory at Ford Field.
Lumen Christi (13-0) has won 23 consecutive games, second only to Muskegon, which has won 27 in a row heading into Saturday’s Division 3 final against Detroit King.
Much like last season when the Titans defeated Ithaca, 40-34, in the state final, Lumen Christi trailed early against Montague before imposing its will. Last season Ithaca led 13-8 at halftime before Lumen Christi scored three consecutive touchdowns to take a 32-13 lead, one it did not relinquish.
Montague led 7-0 after Bryce Stark’s 57-yard touchdown run with 5:28 left in the first quarter. It marked just the second game this season where Lumen Christi trailed. In last week’s semifinal the Titans trailed Montrose before coming back to win, 42-20.
Against Montague the Titans took a 14-7 lead on Nick Thomas’ 57-yard touchdown run and Joe Barrett’s 40-yard touchdown pass to Cy’Aire Johnson.
Montague (11-3) tied the game at 14-14 on Stark’s 21-yard touchdown run with 1:17 left in the half.
The second half was all Lumen Christi as the Titans scored touchdowns on each of its first four possessions to take a 42-14 lead.
“We ran out of gas,” Montague coach Pat Collins said. “Our guys worked hard. We have nine guys who go both ways. It’s tough on a small school. It was their depth. They’ve been doing that all year. There’s not a lot we can do. It just gave us trouble.”
Lumen Christi coach Herb Brogan claimed his ninth state title and upped his career record to 356-83 in a career dating back to 1980, all at the same school. He currently sits at No. 5 on the all-time list for coaching victories, five behind Mike Boyd (retired) of Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes.
He and some of his players spoke of the motivation they had in winning three straight titles, a first in school history.
Senior running back Nick Thomas, a part of the three title teams, rushed for 249 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. He downplayed any comparison or competition between him and Montague running back Bryce Stark saying that there were other factors that helped motivate his team.
“I wanted to do anything we needed to win,” he said. “A big emphasis was we wanted to be the first team at Lumen (to win three straight). It started in the preseason.”
Brogan’s teams are traditionally fundamentally sound, and one that features the run game and good defense. This was true against Montague. Lumen Christi committed just two penalties, had one turnover and the offense gained 427 yards, 348 on the ground.
“We lost 16 starters from a year ago,” he said. “We knew we had three, four, five players who were good coming back. We try to sell the team concept. They took the challenge.
“We’re going to play to the strengths of the kids. Our offensive line coach, Dan Horn, does a great job. Our offensive line has been great all season.”
Stark rushed for 156 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries for Montague, which made its first appearance in a state final since the Wildcats won the D6 title in 2009.
A 14-7 victory over Traverse City St. Francis in a semifinal and a 25-24 overtime victory over rival Muskegon Oakridge were two of the most hotly contested games Montague played this season.
“When we lost to Reed City (34-13 in the season opener), they outmanned us, a little like today,” two-way back Sebastian Archer said. “We got worn down.”