Maroons Stopped Short Of State
Making their way deep into the Michigan playoffs, the Menominee Maroons (11-2) saw the season end in a 20-17 heartbreaking loss to Grand Rapids West Catholic in the Division 5 state semifinals Saturday.
The post-season clash, played at the Superior Dome in Marquette, saw the Maroons jump out to a 14-0 second quarter lead before faltering.
This was a tough, tough loss. I knew going into the game skill-wise we were right there with them. We struggled upfront as Grand Rapids front-7 on defense was really good. We couldnt run the ball, as evident by our 46 yards rushing, and struggled for any consistency on offense, Maroon coach Joe Noha said.
The stat sheet proved what coach Noha was talking about as Grand Rapids (10-3) scored a touchdown with 58 seconds left for the win. Grand Rapids held a 411-366 edge in total yards and ran off 83 plays compared to 53 for Menominee. Passing the ball was the name of this game as the teams combined for 70 attempts and 38 completions.
Our defense did a great job holding them and if our offense could have moved the ball better, there would not have been any issues at the end. We just couldnt sustain any drives, Noha commented.
Tailback Devon Harris continued his playoff prowess passing for 320 yards on 13 on 24 attempts while netting just 26 yards rushing on 15 carries. James Brown was the number two runner for the Maroons with 6 carries for 7 yards.
Brown snagged 5 passes for 42 yards, Bryan Hines 2-97, Jared Rivard 2-61 and Shane Sullivan 1-92.
They played man to man defense on the outside, and because we couldnt run the ball, we had to throw to score. Harris did a nice job finding the open receivers and hitting some big pass plays, Noha added.
The Maroons gained that 14-0 edge on touchdown passes from Harris to Michael Kinsey of 5 yards in the first quarter and 92 yards to Shane Sullivan in the second.
Menominees first scoring march covered 80 yards in 4 plays with Kinsey making his way to the end zone at the 3:43 mark of period one. The big play in the drive was a 76 yard pass to Hines, before Kinsey took care of the final 5 yards. Evan Pohlman booted the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
Just 18 seconds into the second quarter, the Maroons were back on the scoreboard as Sullivan hauled in a short pass from Harris and bolted 92 yards to paydirt (11:42).
Grand Rapids got back in the game 3 minutes later when Andy Corey capped a 75 yard drive with a one yard plunge at the 8:38 mark.
The score stayed in Menominees favor until late in the third quarter when Grand Rapids got even on a 5 yards pass from Travis Russell to Bryce Witham (0:25) on the 19th play of the drive. Travis Hoving knotted things up with the PAT at 14-all.
The Maroons got a break in the fourth quarter when Harris picked off a pass, leading to a 13 play scoring march. After moving to the Grand Rapids 10 yard line, coach Noha decided to go for a field goal on fourth down and 9. And it worked out as Pohlman drilled a 27 yard boot for a 17-14 Maroon lead with 5:08 remaining in the game.
That was our longest drive of the day, had success running and passing the ball, but couldnt get into the end zone. I knew we had to get some points, so a field goal was better than nothing. Unfortunately I was worried that wasnt going to be enough and I was right, Noha explained.
Getting the ball back, Grand Rapids put together its game winning drive, which included converting a risky fourth and 8 at its own 28. The march ended when Russell lofted a 14 yard fade pass to David Kuzma, who out-jumped Hines in the end zone for the score. The extra point was missed as Grand Rapids held a 20-17 lead with 0:58 left.
With little time left to play, Menominee moved to the Grand Rapids 16 yard line on a pair of passes to Rivard before time expired.
Looking back on his rookie season, Noha commented... we had a nice season, but the standard at Menominee is set to a degree of winning state. I was very satisfied with the way the kids and coaches connected along with the way parents and community embraced the team. We have a great support system at Menominee and I just want to continue keeping the football program on top, The effort put forth by the kids was amazing, Noha concluded.
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