Orchard Lake St. Mary’s won its third consecutive district championship in convincing fashion as it defeated Redford Thurston, 62-20, in a Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Division 3 district final on Friday, Nov. 4.
With the win, the Eaglets earned a home matchup with Linden (7-4) in a Division 3 regional final on Saturday, Nov. 12.
The Eaglets (9-2) won their sixth district title in eight seasons with a punishing rushing attack that wore the Eagles down.
“(Thurston) did a good job consuming the ball, but we made defensive adjustments and our offensive line did a nice job,” said St. Mary’s Head Coach George Porritt.
Thurston (9-2) scored first when Devin Riles threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Eric Wilson in the first quarter, but the Eagles missed the extra point.
Spencer McInnis then put the Eaglets on the board with a 19-yard touchdown run for a 7-6 lead at the end of the first.
St. Mary’s then poured it on as it scored 28 straight points on three touchdown runs by Grant Niemiec and a 38-yard touchdown run by McInnis to lead 35-14 at halftime.
McInnis then took a kickoff back 98 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter before Niemeic scored on a 31-yard touchdown run and Charles Croone Jr. scored on a 2-yard touchdown run, as the Eaglets led 56-12 at the end of the third.
Jalen Watts-Jackson’s 31-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth concluded the Eaglets’ scoring.
Niemeic finished with 145 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries, while McInnis had 120 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries in addition to his kickoff return touchdown.
Last season, St. Mary’s defeated Redford Thurston in a Division 3 regional final, 45-7.
Now the Eaglets will prepare to host Linden in the hopes of winning their third straight regional championship.
“Linden is quick on defense and they have a good passing attack,” Porritt said. “I feel we’re in good physical shape. We’re playing good football and we’re taking no steps back.”