It didn’t come easy, but Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes has earned its way back into the state playoffs.
The Lakers pulled off a 39-36 victory in overtime at home over Madison Heights Bishop Foley on Saturday, Oct. 13 for their sixth victory of the year, ensuring them a berth in the state tournament after missing out last season with a 4-5 record.
“I expected this game would be hard and tough, but not with all these points,” said Our Lady Head Coach Mike Boyd. “We’ve had a bunch of those games before. This is another one in the books.”
The Lakers (6-2 overall, 4-2 in the Catholic League Intersectional) drew first blood in the first quarter when they blocked a Ventures’ punt, which was recovered by Charlie Campbell in the end zone for a 7-0 Our Lady lead.
Bishop Foley (4-4, 3-3) responded as Nate Grys threw a 71-yard touchdown pass to Nick Gwisdalla and Garrett Schilling kicked a 47-yard field goal for a 10-7 Foley lead.
Richie Cross then started to heat up as he caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Sal Mastromatteo, who also scored on a 2-point conversion, for a 15-10 Our Lady lead at the end of the first quarter.
Cross then scored on 2 touchdown runs from 1 yard and 5 yards out for a 28-10 lead in the second quarter.
However, Grys scored on a 3-yard touchdown run to trim Our Lady’s lead to 11 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Grys would throw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Brendan McMahon, and Gabe O’Neil scored on a 20-yard touchdown run to give the Ventures a 29-28 lead after two failed two-point conversion attempts.
Our Lady retook the lead, 36-29, in the fourth quarter when Cross scored his fourth touchdown of the day on a 1-yard run before catching a 2-point conversion pass from Mastromatteo.
But on the ensuing kickoff, Gwisdalla stunned the Lakers by returning the kick 95 yards for a touchdown to tie the score at 36 and force overtime.
Bishop Foley had the first possession of the extra session, but on the first play, it tried a backward lateral that was fumbled and recovered by Our Lady.
The Lakers wasted little time, as on the very next play, Spencer Howell kicked a 27-yard field goal to send the Lakers to the state playoffs for the 15th time in 16 seasons.
Cross finished with 170 total yards while Mastromatteo had 146 yards passing.
Our Lady will wrap up the regular season with a trip to Capac on Friday, Oct. 19 and then wait for Selection Sunday on Oct. 21 to find out who they will play in the pre-district round of the state playoffs.