For Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, winning a district championship after missing the state playoffs last season felt like old times, according to Our Lady’s head coach.
“It feels very good. The kids worked hard and have done a great job,” said Lakers Head Coach Mike Boyd.
Our Lady defeated Melvindale Academy for Business & Technology, 34-12, on Saturday, Nov. 3 in a Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Division 8 district final.
The Lakers (9-2) have now won 11 district titles in their last 13 state playoff appearances.
Boyd said he was pleased with his team’s play, especially Our Lady’s offensive output following a lackluster performance against Pittsford in the pre-district round.
“We were very good. We played good defense and ran our offense decently,” he said.
With the victory, Our Lady earned a matchup on the road against Harbor Beach (10-1) in a Division 8 regional final on Saturday, Nov. 10.
Last Saturday against the Gators (7-4), Spencer Howell kicked a 23-yard field goal to give the Lakers a 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Mitch Lasceski scored on a 2-yard touchdown run after Noah Burnham recovered a Melvindale fumble at the Gators’ 2-yard line.
Jake Doetsch helped preserve a 10-0 halftime lead for Our Lady by forcing a Melvindale fumble late in the first half at the Our Lady 5-yard line.
In the third quarter, Our Lady forced a turnover on downs by Melvindale before Sal Mastromatteo threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to Richie Cross to put the Lakers up 17-0.
However, Melvindale would finally get on the board as Darrylnotay Hines returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, cutting its deficit to 17-6 before a failed two-point conversion.
Mastromatteo would redeem his team with a 12-yard touchdown run to put Our Lady up 24-6 at the end of the third quarter.
Doetsch sealed the victory for Our Lady in the fourth as he scored on a 13-yard touchdown run.
“(The Gators) were giving us what we wanted. Our defense held them and we always came through in a crucial situation,” Boyd said.
The Lakers will next face their toughest test of the season on Saturday when they travel to the Thumb.
Harbor Beach has won seven games in a row, including a 48-0 victory over Merrill in the pre-district round and a 56-20 victory over New Lothrop in a district final last weekend.
The Pirates finished 11-1 last season, with their lone defeat coming in a regional final against Saginaw Louvel Catholic, and they are looking to grab the trophy they were denied in 2011.
Meanwhile, the Lakers have not won a regional title since 2006 and have lost their last three regional final appearances.
“Harbor Beach is a very good football team. They will definitely be the toughest team we face. You can’t afford mistakes against this team,” Boyd said.