'It ended with a bang': Rose carries Muskegon Mona Shores over Warren De La Salle in D2 title repeat

David Goricki
The Detroit News
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Detroit — Brady Rose grew up around the Muskegon Mona Shores football program, attending games when his father roamed the sidelines as the team’s head coach while in grade school.

And, that’s why it was so rewarding for Rose to finish his high school career by helping No. 6 Mona Shores (12-0) repeat as Division 2 state champions with a 25-19 win over Warren De La Salle (7-5) Friday afternoon at Ford Field.

Muskegon Mona Shores' Keondre Pierce (2) runs for a short gain in the first quarter against Warren De La Salle’s Brett Stanley (30) at Ford Field during the Division 2 state championship game on Friday, January 22, 2021.

No doubt, Rose proved to be the difference in the win, running the offense at quarterback and rushing for 154 yards (22 carries) and two touchdowns for Mona Shores, which piled up 292 yards on the ground (49 attempts).

Rose also recovered an onside kick after De La Salle pulled within 25-19 with 16 seconds left following a 4-yard run by sophomore quarterback Brady Drogosh.

BOX SCORE: Muskegon Mona Shores 25, Warren De La Salle 19

“This was the end of the story, the last chapter of my time at Shores and it ended with a bang, with back-to-back state championships so that’s awesome,” said the 5-foot-7, 170-pound Rose, who is arguably the state’s top player, once scoring touchdowns in five different ways — rushing, passing, reception, interception, and a punt return — in the first 12 minutes, 17 seconds of a Week 3 win over Holland. “This has been a blessing to be around these guys all the time. We’ve been playing for 25 weeks and I wouldn’t want to be with anybody else for 25 weeks.”

Mona Shores head coach Matt Koziak replaced Rose’s father, Ken Rose, and has guided Mona Shores to three Division 2 state championship game appearances in the last seven years, losing to De La Salle in 2014 and winning the last two, defeating Detroit King last year (35-26) and De La Salle.

And, it was Rose set the tempo by leading Mona Shores on a six-play, 72-yard scoring drive on the opening series when Mona Shores had four runs of 12 or more yards by four different players, capped by Rose’s 12-yard run just 2½ minutes into the game.

Mona Shores took a 13-0 lead late in the first half on a 13-play, 66-yard drive with Rose moving the chains twice on fourth-and-1 runs, the first picking up nine yards to the De La Salle 27 and the second picking up two to the 16 to set up Elijah Johnson’s 9-yard TD run with 1:16 left in the half.

After De La Salle first-year coach Dan Rohn went with a quarterback change to start the second half and having senior JC Ford (15 carries, 107 yards, two TDs) respond with a TD on the opening drive of the second half to cut the deficit to 13-7, Rose again worked his magic.

Rose broke loose for a 65-yard run down the left sideline, breaking several tackles to reach the 13, setting up Keondre Pierce’s 10-yard TD run on a third-and-long to open a 19-7 lead.

“At first, it was like they’re coming back because they are such a great team, but after that run, we knew we going to punch it in and then everybody got excited, everybody got hyped up,” Rose said.

Ford would again make big plays, scoring on a 52-yard run after first finding Brett Stanley for a 23-yard pass play to pull within 19-13 with 7:58 remaining.

Rose ended the scoring on a 4-yard run with 1:47 left, taking advantage of Mona Shores’ fourth-down stop, then driving 39 yards for the score.

De La Salle first-year head coach Dan Rohn felt he made the perfect call on fourth-and-3 from the De La Salle 39 with just over five minutes remaining and his team trailing, 19-13.

“We said all week long that we were going to get some shots and some opportunities and we were going to have to take advantage of them and we missed that pass (on fourth down) at the end, something that we had been setting up, just barely missed it," Rohn said. "I think if we score there maybe it’s a different outcome, but we went up against one of the best football teams in the state of Michigan and definitely what everybody considers the best football player (Rose) in the state of Michigan and he made some tremendous plays, so hats off to Matt (Koziak), David (Check) and Mona Shores.”

It would be safe to say Rohn was familiar with Mona Shores’ program. He is friends with Koziak and Mona Shores defensive coordinator David Check was Rohn’s defensive coordinator at Grand Rapids West Catholic during West Catholic’s three straight Division 5 state championship years (2013-15).

Muskegon Mona Shores' Elijah Farnum (11) tries to catch a pass over Warren De La Salle's Tyler Gerling.

“I need to give credit to Coach Rohn and his staff and the whole De La Salle program,” Koziak said. “A new head coach came in during a COVID period and spring is very important for a new coach coming in and he didn’t have that. He didn’t have summer camps, so he came into a new program trying to install his system with no time except the two weeks that we got before Game 1. They started 2-4 and they make a run in the playoffs and I’m not surprised at all since he’s an unbelievable coach, a future Hall of Fame coach in the state of Michigan.”

Rohn certainly made a Hall of Fame move when he installed senior JC Ford at quarterback to start the second half in place of 6-4 sophomore Brady Drogosh, who struggled to get the offense going.

Drogosh was 2-for-6 for 17 yards and an interception in the first half, having one drive stall at the Mona Shores’ 30 in the first quarter and having another end in the second quarter at the Mona Shores 34 on a fourth-down incompletion after failing to find Brett Stanley who was wide open near the 20 earlier in the drive. He also threw an interception at the Mona Shores’ 38 in the final minute of the half after connecting with Stanley on a 25-yard pass near midfield.

Rohn’s quarterback change quickly turned into a 13-7 game after Ford engineered a 62-yard scoring drive, rushing for 37 yards on seven carries, including a 4-yard TD run while using the uptempo style.

Ford, who was stopped short on a fourth-and-5 play at the Mona Shores’ 31 on the opening play of the fourth quarter, would cut the deficit to 19-13 on a 52-yard run with 7:58 left.

Rohn went again on fourth down, but this time from his own territory with just over five minutes left. This time, Ford’s pass went just over the head of Stanley, giving Mona Shores a short field to work with and Rose turned it into a TD.

Still, it was the play midway through the second quarter of a 6-0 game where Stanley couldn’t get out of his mind. It was then that Stanley was wide open near the Mona Shores’ 20 with nothing but open space between him and the end zone, but Drogosh failed to connect.

“I told Coach (Rohn) to run scissors, that’s what’s called where I run a wheel and I made a good move on the kid and I was wide open and he just had to put it on me and we’re scoring, but it just didn’t happen,” said Stanley who finished with 198 all-purpose yards. “We had so many opportunities to score today, just didn’t capitalize on them like we needed to.”

De La Salle’s Will Beesley had 20 tackles and Jayden Conklin 14 tackles

dgoricki@detroitnews.com

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