Detroit — Muskegon Catholic Central found just enough offense in the second half to capture its third consecutive Division 8 state championship with a 7-0 win Friday morning at Ford Field over Waterford Lakes.
After three scoreless quarters, C.C. (11-2) went 64 yards on seven plays and found itself in the end zone after an 8-yard touchdown run by quarterback Christian Martinez.
Martinez picked up a big first down two plays earlier on a 13-yard run on third-and-3 from the Lakes 45-yard line. On the next play, Walker Christoffersen reeled off a 24-yard run down to the 8 to set up the touchdown.
Defense was the name of the game from start to finish, and with Lakes down to the C.C. 15 and just over three minutes left to play, it was the C.C. defense that shut the door on a comeback. Christoffersen made the play of the day when he cut in front of Lakes receiver Chris Cartier in the end zone to come away with his second interception.
"I knew that if I got to him in time, I could break on the ball," Christoffersen said. "I was glad I could make a play for my team."
The C.C. defense shut out a Lakes squad that had scored at least 32 points in its previous 13 games and intercepted Lakes quarterback Clay Senerius four times.
"I don't think anybody who followed these two teams expected it to be 7-0," C.C. coach Steve Czerwon said. "I'm just proud of the preparation these kids put in. They carried out the game plan."
Both teams missed scoring opportunities in the first half.
C.C. drove 13 plays down to the Lakes 21 on its opening drive, but went backwards on the next three plays, settling for a 39-yard field attempt from Jose Zambrano that went wide left.
As the Lakes defense stiffened, the C.C. defense was busy intercepting Senerius on each of its first two drives. When Lakes was finally able to get the ball down inside the C.C. 20 on its third drive, Devin Senerius missed a 35-yard field goal attempt.
Then just before the half, Clay Senerius connected on pass plays to his brother Devin Senerius and tight end Ryan Kostich to get Lakes back deep inside C.C. territory. After a meager 3-yard gain and two incompletions by Clay Senerius, Lakes coach Josh Sawicki was forced to make a decision on fourth down.
Sawicki passed up the chance to go for the lead on a 33-yard field goal attempt, and that decision backfired as his quarterback threw a ball into the end zone that was batted away by a bevy of Muskegon defenders.
"We thought we had the play," Sawicki said. "Maybe that's on me. We've been aggressive all year, and it just didn't go our way today."
Christoffersen led the way on the ground for C.C., carrying the ball 18 times for 113 yards, while Martinez added 45 yards rushing on 10 attempts and the game's lone score.
Clay Senerius finished 17-for-27 for 193 yards and Devin Senerius had six receptions for 72 yards for Lakes (13-1), which was making its first finals appearance since 2002.
The contrast in styles was obvious in the final box score. C.C. outgained Lakes 198-48 on the ground, and Martinez threw for 17 yards on three completions in the victory.
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.