St. Mary’s overcomes adversity, wins state title
Detroit – There was one driving force behind Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Division 3 state championship on Saturday at Ford Field.
Katie Adams-Langley, the mother of Eaglets junior running back Brandon Adams, died of cancer on Thanksgiving night and her death provided the inspiration for St. Mary’s’ 7-0 victory over Muskegon.
“My mom was a big part of my life,” said Adams. “She will definitely be missed and she was definitely fuel to the fire for this game for our team. We came out strong, we had some shakiness in the second half with the running game, but in the end we came out as a team.”
St. Mary’s coach George Porritt said that the win means a lot to his team and the Eaglets wanted to win Saturday’s game for Adams and for the program as well.
“It means a lot to our team,” he said. “It really, really does. They wanted to win this one as much for St. Mary’s, but they wanted to win for him too.”
During the trophy presentation Porritt called Adams over to his side and the two accepted the championship trophy.
“I knew my mom was watching down on me,” he said. “So that was a great feeling. She’s looking down, she’s smiling and she’s proud of all of us, because we’re all brothers, we’re all related.”
Adams took the field with the Eaglets less than 48 hours after his mom’s passing and went on to score the game’s only touchdown to lead St. Mary’s to its sixth state title.
Adams rushed for 41 yards and played a key role in the punting game. He averaged nearly 37.2 yards on six punts in a game where field position was magnified.
Porritt said the time leading up to the game created a whirlwind of emotions his team but they were able to channel these emotions and play as a unit.
“It was a crazy, bizarre 48 hours,” Porritt said. “That’s what I can tell you the best. Our kids came together and they came together for him and for our team. It’s hard to talk about because there were a lot of trying times during those 48 hours.”
A memorial service was held for Katie on Friday on the campus of St. Mary’s and the community came together in support of Adams and his family.
“My teammates are my brothers and probably over 200 people showed up,” he said. “The entire team showed up. The entire community showed up and that just shows how much we all care about each other and I would do the same thing for any one of my teammates.”
Minutes after receiving the trophy and being awarded the game ball from Porritt, Adams said the events of the past few days still hadn’t sunk in.
“This is all about my family right now,” he said. “I don’t know where they are, but I’m going to go find them real quick. No, it hasn’t hit me yet, I don’t think.”