Orchard Lake St. Mary’s tasted defeat for the first time on its new red turf on Friday, Oct. 12, falling at the hands of one of its most bitter rivals.
The Eaglets lost to Novi Detroit Catholic Central, 33-14, on Friday, forcing a three-way tie for the Detroit Catholic League Central Division title, with St. Mary’s, Catholic Central and Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice each sporting a 3-1 division record.
But, it will be St. Mary’s (6-2) and Catholic Central (5-3) that will square off for the Catholic League A-B Division title for the second straight year at the Prep Bowl at Ford Field on Saturday, Oct. 20.
Last season, St. Mary’s defeated Catholic Central on the road, 14-13, to clinch the Central Division title outright before the Shamrocks exacted revenge a week later at the Prep Bowl with a 21-7 victory.
This season marks St. Mary’s third consecutive division title.
Last Friday, the Eaglets entered with a 6-game winning streak and a chance to clinch the division outright with a 4-0 division record for the second straight year, while the Shamrocks entered with a 4-3 record and needing a win to keep its state playoff hopes alive.
Anthony Darkangelo struck first for Catholic Central in the first quarter on a 6-yard touchdown run.
Parker McInnis then scored for St. Mary’s on a 19-yard touchdown run, but the Eaglets trailed 7-6 after a failed extra-point attempt.
Darkangelo then burned the Eaglets again, this time with his arm, as he took a pitch and threw a pass to Jon Malone, who took the ball 80 yards for a touchdown and a 14-6 Shamrocks’ lead at the end of the first quarter.
Catholic Central’s lead was increased to 21-6 at halftime thanks to a 50-yard touchdown run by Darkangelo.
In the third quarter, Darkangelo struck again on a 60 yard touchdown run for a 28-6 lead for the Shamrocks.
After Grant Niemiec scored on a 2-yard touchdown run for St. Mary’s in the fourth quarter, Connor Holton scored for Catholic Central on a 5-yard touchdown run to cap off a stunning victory for the desperate Shamrocks.
Darkangelo finished with 150 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns on 14 carries, while McInnis had 108 yards rushing for the Eaglets.
Now, St. Mary’s will look to win its first Catholic League title since 2005 this Saturday at Ford Field and also snap a five-game losing streak at the Prep Bowl and possibly deny Catholic Central a state playoff berth in the process.