David Goricki selects the players who stood out in each division in this year's state high school football finals.
Division 1 — Rodney Hall, Detroit Cass Tech: Hall, a Northern Illinois commitment, threw for 220 yards and matched a state-title game record with five touchdown passes in Cass Tech’s 49-20 rout of Detroit Catholic Central. It was a huge accomplishment for Halll, who missed last year’s state-championship game — a 41-27 loss to Romeo — because of a broken ankle.
Division 2 — Jesse Scarber/Jaeveyon Morton, Detroit King: Scarber and Morton had two interceptions apiece, with each returning one for a touchdown, Scarber with a 56-yarder early in the third quarter to open up a 12-0 lead, and Morton a 66-yarder with 2:53 remaining to cap off an 18-0 shutout of No. 2 Walled Lake Western. Morton also cut in front of Cody White for an interception in the end zone early in the fourth.
Division 3 — Caden Prieskorn, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s: Prieskorn, a transfer from Lake Orion, threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns, rallying St. Mary’s back from a 14-3 first-quarter deficit with a 30-yard TD pass to Clay Antishin just before halftime. He then directed a winning 80-yard drive in the final minutes, finding Ky’ren Cunningham for an 18-yard touchdown pass with four seconds left for a 29-28 victory over No. 6 Muskegon.
Division 4 — Antonio Strong, Grand Rapids Catholic Central: Strong had a big fourth-quarter interception near midfield to end a Country Day threat and finished with 205 all-purpose yards, 141 coming on kickoff and return punts in a 10-7 victory in a game in which his team had just one first down and 60 yards from scrimmage.
Division 5 — Gaetano Vallone, Grand Rapids West Catholic: Vallone threw for 311 yards and four touchdowns, with all of his scoring tosses coming in the first half of a 43-7 rout of Menominee to give West Catholic its fourth consecutive state championship. He also rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown. Sam Neville also had two TD receptions and intercepted two passes.
Division 6 — Bo Bell, Jackson Lumen Christi: Bell was the workhorse all season for Lumen Christi, so it came to no surprise that he bulled his way to 238 yards (40 carries) and a touchdown in a 26-14 victory over Maple City Glen Lake. Bell, a senior, finished the season with 2,666 yards and a school-record 34 touchdowns, while averaging 8.5 yards a carry.
Division 7 — Jimmy Lehman, Pewamo-Westphalia: Pewamo-Westphalia was known for its running attack, with Jared Smith piling up more than 8,000 yards for his career, but it was Lehman who threw for 127 yards and two touchdowns — 14- and 37-yard scoring strikes to Logan Hengesbach — and was the hero in this one, helping his team beat Detroit Loyola, 28-14, after a 22-16 loss to Ishpeming a year ago in the title game. He also scored on a 1-yard run.
Division 8 — Cameron Martinez, Muskegon Catholic Central: Martinez rushed for 154 yards and a touchdown and threw for another score in a 35-6 victory over Ottawa Lake Whiteford to help Catholic Central earn its fourth consecutive state championship. Catholic Central allowed just 13 points during its five-game postseason run.