Detroit — Jack Bowen had just enough time to get away a perfect pass over the middle that Mike Brown turned into a 44-yard touchdown for the difference in Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s 10-7 victory over Detroit Country Day in the Division 4 state title game Friday night at Ford Field.
Bowen, a junior quarterback, had been under pressure by Country Day’s pass rush throughout the championship game until that TD toss on a third-and-seven play with 11:11 remaining.
“I had to release 5 yards and slow my feet down so they’d bite, then the middle of the field was wide open and the quarterback threw a great ball and I just took it to the end zone,” said Brown.
Up until that throw, Grand Rapids C.C. (14-0) had just 12 yards of total offense and Bowen was 3-of-9 for eight yards with one of his passes intercepted by Roy McCree and turned into an 82-yard second-quarter touchdown for Country Day (13-1).
Bowen was hit by linebacker Adam Fakih, forcing the interception.
Grand Rapids defensive end Jaylen Mayfield recovered a fumble by quarterback Steve Mann at the Country Day 47, opening the way to Bowen’ heroics for C.C., which had allowed a combined 10 points in four postseason games.
Country Day had another turnover when on third-and-16 from its 35, Mann’s throw went off the hands of receiver Jack Foster and was intercepted by Antonio Strong at midfield and returned to the Country Day 15 with 3:11 left.
“They were just getting a lot of pressure and blowing up our stuff,” Country Day coach Dan MacLean said. “They have real good down guys and their linebackers are really good players. We just didn’t make enough plays on offense to give ourselves a chance because our defense played very well.”
Grand Rapids C.C. failed to capitalize when Strong’s 9-yard TD was wiped off the board by a holding penalty. Then it failed to convert on a 37-yard field goal.
C.C. had one first down, the fewest in a state title game since Flint Holy Rosary had four in the 1975 Class D title game.
Country Day had one more chance following the missed field goal, but couldn’t move the ball in the final minutes and Derek Saukas sacked Mann on fourth-and-long at the 10.
Country Day — ranked No. 18 in The News Super 20 poll — was limited to 113 total yards.
Fakih showed he was going to cause havoc from the opening minutes, making a tackle for a 3-yard loss, then forcing Bowen into an intentional grounding call that led to a C.C. punt from its own 1.