Three points was all that was needed to give Walled Lake Western its first district playoff championship in a decade.
The Warriors grinded out a 3-0 victory at home over South Lyon in an MHSAA Division 2 district final on Friday, Nov. 4.
Kyle Bambard kicked a 46-yard field goal just before halftime that would turn out to be the game’s only points.
The win marked Western’s (10-1) first district title since it defeated Canton in a Division 1 district final in 2001.
The Warriors’ previous district final appearance was in 2005, where they fell to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.
Western will next travel to Port Huron on Friday, Nov. 11 to face the 10-1 Big Reds in a Division 2 Regional Final. Port Huron is coming off its first-ever district championship in a 27-21 victory over Rochester Adams on Friday, Nov. 4.
South Lyon (7-4) was in the midst of its first state playoff appearance in four seasons and first district final since 2006.
Both teams punted on their first two drives before Brent Zdebski rushed from his own 24-yard line to the South Lyon 15 before he fumbled the ball and the Lions recovered deep in their own territory.
Starting at their own 9-yard line, the Lions drove to the Western 18.
Trevor Hilden then attempted a 30-yard field goal, but the Warriors blocked it, keeping the game scoreless.
The next six drives resulted in a punt before Western took over at its own 12-yard line. Bambard rushed for 44 yards on the drive while Brent Zdebski rushed for 13.
Western also gained 15 yards when South Lyon was assessed a personal foul penalty.
After three incomplete passes, Bambard nailed his 46-yard field goal to put Western up at halftime.
The third quarter was scoreless and Western had a chance to increase its lead on its second-to-last drive of the game in the fourth quarter, but Bambard missed a 47-yard field goal attempt.
The Lions then began at their own 20 and quarterback Derek Talaga completed two passes of 26 and 12 yards for two first downs.
After an incomplete pass, Talaga was sacked by Brent Zdebski and Zack Mitchell for a loss of 9 yards.
Following completion of a 9-yard pass to Jake Sexton, the Lions faced fourth-down-and-11. Talaga’s ensuing pass was incomplete and the Warriors were able to run out the clock.
Western gained 269 total yards, with 239 coming on the ground, while South Lyon had 150 total yards, with 121 coming through the air.
Brent Zdebski finished with 131 yards rushing on 16 carries while Bambard had 66 yards rushing on 11 carries for the Warriors.
On defense, Brent Zdebski had 5 solo tackles and a sack while Jason Gamble and Ty Sickler each had 4 solo tackles.
Talaga completed 8-of-26 passes for 121 yards for the Lions, while Justin Tolinski had 7 solo tackles.
Western will now face the tough task of a long road trip to Port Huron and taking on an upstart Big Reds team with nothing to lose and riding the wave of their best season in school history.
The Warriors’ last appearance in a regional final came in 2001, a 50-12 victory over Detroit Pershing.