Eagles’ season ends with heartbreaking OT loss to Titans

SCHOOLCRAFT — Abe Johnson’s 22-yard field goal in overtime lifted Jackson Lumen Christi to a 37-34 Division 6 district finals over host Schoolcraft Saturday.
It was a devastating loss for No. 2-ranked Schoolcraft, which finishes 10-1.
No. 5-rated Lumen Christi (9-2) advances to the regional finals at home Saturday against Napoleon.
The entire game was intense as the two schools battled back and forth for 48 minutes before needing the overtime session to decide the outcome.
Schoolcraft won the coin toss and elected to go on offense first using the south goal to start overtime.
With its passing attack flourishing most of the day, Eagles’ head coach Terry Haas elected to go to the air to punch the ball into the end zone. Senior quarterback Ricky Clark attempted two consecutive passes to senior receiver Nolan Anspaugh that fell incomplete. Clark’s third pass attempt was intercepted by Lumen Christi’s Nick Thomas.
The Titans then took possession keeping the ball on the ground with a three-yard gain by star tailback Bo Bell to the Eagles’ seven. Quarterback Troy Kutcha was tackled by Schoolcraft’s defense on an attempted sneak forcing fourth down. Johnson came onto the field and nailed an off-centered field-goal attempt hit the uprights and sent the Lumen Christi crowd into hysterics.
“That was the state championship right there,” Haas said. “Lumen Christi is a good football team and well-coached. I would not be surprised if they go on and win the state championship.”
Clark, the Eagles’ all-state candidate, had a fabulous day running and passing the football.
The 6-foot-0, 180-pound Eagles signal caller completed 12-of-28 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.
Senior receiver Nolan Anspaugh was Clark’s favorite target on the day with five catches for 174 yards and two TDs.
Clark also rushed 11 times for 112 yards and two scores.
“At first we thought about running the ball,” Haas said. “We thought we had a good pass play on first down, but just didn’t connect. Once you get into a second down and 10 situation it puts a bit more pressure on you.”
Schoolcraft led Lumen Christi 12-7 after the first quarter.
Bell, who rushed 26 times for 176 yards and two TDs, dashed 75 yards for the Titans’ first score and Johnson added the PAT for a 7-0 lead with 8:07 left in the period.
Schoolcraft’s Kobe Clark sprinted 41 yards for the Eagles’ first TD just seconds later at 7:52 to cut their deficit to 7-6. Kameron Snyder’s PAT for the Eagles failed.
The elusive Ricky Clark hit Anspaugh with a 47-yard scoring pass with 2:24 left in the period to give the Eagles a 12-7 lead. Snyder’s PAT failed.
Lumen Christi regained the lead 13-12 with 7:45 left in the second quarter on Kyle Minder’s 5-yard run.
The Titans increased their lead to 20-12 with 5:31 left in the half on Kutcha’s 23-yard quarterback keeper. Johnson was successful on the PAT.
With the clock running down in the first half, Clark heaved a 45-yard pass to Anspaugh to give the Eagles a first down at the Lumen Christi 5-yard line.
After no gain on first down, Clark carried the ball in for the TD and added the two-point conversion run to tie the game at 20-20 entering intermission.
Bell bounced to the outside for a 59-yard TD dash and a 26-20 Titans’ lead with 5:36 left in the third quarter.
Lumen Christi’s lead held up until 4:56 remaining in fourth quarter when Clark appeared to be down but kept his balance and spun off a pile of tacklers to run 91 yards for a Schoolcraft touchdown tying the game. Snyder’s PAT gave the Eagles a 27-26 lead.
Lumen Christi answered with Kutcha heaving a 67-yard TD pass to Jacob Lathers. Kutcha tossed the conversion pass to Tobyn Stanton and a 34-27 Titans’ advantage with 4:05 left.
Clark wooed the capacity crowd at Roy Davis field with 77-yard TD bomb to Anspaugh with 3:16 left to even the game up at 34-34. Snyder’s PAT was successful.
The Eagles’ defense held against Lumen Christi on its next possession and time in regulation ran out.
Kobe Clark finished with four carries for the Eagles worth 53 yards.
Schoolcraft rushed 22 times for 181 yards.
The Eagles did a nice job on special teams with Clark averaging 42.6 yards on five punts.
The Eagles’ defense was led by Jakob Huysken and Mark Phelps with 13 tackles each. Thomas Meadows and Spencer Fox had 10 each and Reilly Puhalski, Marc Shaink and Collin Tone all finished with eight apiece. Ethan Sharp and Riley Piper each had seven tackles.
“When you look at the big picture it was probably the penalties and a couple of turnovers that hurt us,” Haas said.
“They didn’t turn the ball over and it was a plus for them. Our kids played their guts out. I’m proud of them. The seniors are very talented and just good people.”
Lumen Christi coach Herb Brogan said Schoolcraft was one of the toughest his team had faced all season.
“We held on for dear life. Schoolcraft is as good of a football team as we’ve seen all year. They are well-coached and well-disciplined. We play in a league with a lot of bigger schools. They made some big plays at the end to send it into overtime. They hurt us all day with the pass so I wasn’t surprised when they decided to throw it in the overtime,” Brogan said.
Scott Hassinger can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 25 or sports@threeriversnews.com.

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