Detroit — Detroit Loyola wanted nothing more than another crack at Ishpeming.
The past two seasons, Loyola rolled through the playoffs and had the state title within its reach, only to come up short to Ishpeming both times.
On Saturday, Loyola unleashed two years of pent up frustration and heartbreak to win its first state championship in program history and snapped Ishpeming's 33-game win streak with a 29-8 victory in the Division 7 final at Ford Field.
After falling behind 8-0, Loyola knotted it up as senior running back Marvin Campbell bowled over one defender and stiff-armed another to break loose for a 47-yard score. Mideyin Wilson punched in the two-point conversion to make it 8-8 with 11:49 left in the second quarter.
Loyola's defense stood strong on Ishpeming's next drive, racking up a pair of sacks by Alonte Rice and Patrick Harbin to force a three-and-out and make Ishpeming punt from its own end zone.
Loyola began its ensuing drive at the Ishpeming 28-yard line and took full advantage of the short field. Campbell scampered around the right edge and scored untouched on a 7-yard run on a fourth-and-1, and Wilson added the two-point conversion to give Loyola a 16-8 lead with 6:39 remaining before halftime.
"We talked about the challenges, adversity and what we were going to be faced with," Loyola coach John Callahan said. "There's always going to be things that go wrong in life, but it's how you deal with them and how you react to them. In the past we maybe had a problem understanding that, but we learned from our mistakes. I think we were focused and understood if we got behind, we got behind. We just do what we do."
After Ishpeming opened the second half with another three-and-out, Loyola continued to pound the ball on the ground, as it has all season long, and extended its lead on Campbell's 66-yard run for a 22-8 cushion with 9:09 left in the third.
Campbell put the game away with a 5-yard score in the final quarter, spinning a defender completely around before diving into the end zone for a 29-8 lead with 3:15 remaining.
"Us losing two times in a row, we really had a goal to get this done," Campbell said. "Once we were down 8-0 in the first quarter, we knew we had to get this done. I just leaned on my linemen, and Mideyin and me blocked for each other."
Campbell finished with 215 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 21 carries to lead Loyola (14-0), while Wilson rushed for 75 yards on 16 attempts.
Ishpeming struck first on its impressive 13-play, 90-yard opening drive that was capped by Ozzy Corp's 1-yard keeper and Nick Comment's two-point conversion catch for an 8-0 lead with 1:03 left in the first. It was set up by Corp's 21-yard pass to Dominic Suardini to the Loyola 2-yard line, which came three plays after the drive was kept alive by a clutch fourth-and-4 conversion near midfield on a 17-yard pass from Corp to Luke Kuliu.
After its first drive, though, Loyola limited Ishpeming to just 50 yards the rest of the game and held a 363-140 advantage in total offense.
"We ran our nitro defense and they didn't know the blocking scheme because we were off the line with seven linebackers and they had a nine-man line," Loyola junior defensive lineman Anthony Fitzpatrick said. "Coach said coming into this game we had to be physical, get after it first and play like men. We tried to hold them to zero points, but we were unable to do that."
Fitzpatrick spearheaded Loyola's stifling defense with 11 tackles, including a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss. Harbin recorded six tackles with a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss, and Rice added five tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss.
Corp threw for 111 yards on 9-of-16 passing for Ishpeming (12-1), but was held to three yards rushing on 17 carries due to Loyola's constant pressure.
"Those guys are seniors now that we played against before. They're a senior-dominated team. They're big, they're strong and they were better than us today," Ishpeming coach Jeff Olson said. "They just dominated us at times and that's tough."
James Hawkins is a freelance writer.