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University Liggett back busy setting schools records, leading unbeaten team

By: Tom Markowski, October 10, 2016, 12:00 pm

Grosse Pointe Woods – School records continue to fall at Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett.

The latest took place on Saturday when running back Charles Caine rushed for 401 yards and five touchdowns on 24 carries to lead the Knights to a 42-10 victory over Auburn Hills Oakland Christian.

The yards are a single-game school record. Before this season 25 players reached that total.

Caine is a four-year starter who also owns school records for career rushing yards, single season rushing yards, total touchdowns (53) and those scored in one season (31).

University Liggett (7-0) clinched the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference title with Saturday’s victory and will host Sterling Heights Parkway Christian (4-3, 4-1) in the MIAC’s post-season playoff championship game on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

The Knights will likely host a first round Division 7 playoff game the weekend of Oct. 28-29, the opening weekend of the state playoffs. This guarantees that Caine has a minimum of three games remaining in his career, barring injury.

Should Caine score 12 more touchdowns he would finish in the top 10 for touchdowns in a season.  

Caine is not just a good player playing for a small-school team that’s racking up the yards and touchdowns. Caine is 6-1, 190 pounds and has received scholarship offers from a number of Division I schools including Ball State, Miami (OH) and Temple. He committed to Colgate before the season. He has a 3.7 grade-point average and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds.

He has 817 receiving yards giving him over 2,000 yards (rushing and receiving) in total offense.

“He’s a big back,” coach Dan Cimini said. “He runs high, kind of like (former NFL running back) Eric Dickerson. He’s played receiver and strong safety, which is kind of like our rover back.”

University Liggett is by no means a state power. The Knights have won just two playoff games, one each in 2012 and ’97, and if they win their final two regular season games, which is quite possible, it will be the third time in school history they finished 9-0.

This team does have talent. Senior receiver Jackson Walkowiak has 700 yards receiving yards and quarterback Connor McCarron was a Dream Team selection last season as a shortstop playing for a team that won the Division 3 title. Walkowiak plays first base and is a left-handed pitcher.

Cimini has 25 players in his program and said he’s been fortunate in that none of his players have suffered a serious injury.

“We’ve had no concussion, no ankle (injuries) or anything,” he said. “We hit in practice but we don’t hit hard. I can’t afford to lose anyone. It’s important we do our best to keep them healthy.”