Orchard Lake St. Mary’s claimed its fourth straight district championship with a 49-14 victory at home over Auburn Hills Avondale on Saturday, Nov. 3 in a Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Division 3 district final.
“I just thought we played solid,” St. Mary’s Head Coach George Porritt said.
With the victory, St. Mary’s earned a home matchup against Detroit East English in a Division 3 regional final on Saturday, Nov. 10.
Last Saturday’s game had all the makings of an offensive shootout considering that the last time the Eaglets and Yellow Jackets met in a 2010 district final, St. Mary’s came out on top 71-44.
The Eaglets (9-2) opened the scoring in this year’s district final in the first quarter on a 7-yard touchdown run by Parker McInnis.
However, Avondale (9-2) was able to respond as Michael Johnson scored on a 7-yard touchdown run of his own to tie the score at 7-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Grant Niemiec would then give the Eaglets the lead back with a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Brad Harris then came up big for St. Mary’s just before halftime with an interception near midfield to halt a Yellow Jackets’ drive.
On the next play from scrimmage, Niemiec raced 46 yards for a touchdown to give the Eaglets a 21-7 halftime advantage.
“We went in at the half up two touchdowns, then our defensive and offensive line took them out of the game,” Porritt said.
With momentum on its side, St. Mary’s came out like a cannon ball in the third quarter, as Jalen Watts-Jackson returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown before Matt Linehan threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Conrad.
McInnis then scored his second touchdown on a 10-yard run before Niemiec added his third touchdown on a 57-yard run.
The Eaglets’ only blemish of the third quarter was on special teams, as Johnson returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown for Avondale.
Niemiec finished with 150 yards rushing while McInnis had 117 yards rushing.
Now, St. Mary’s must prepare for a Detroit East English team that has scored 63 points in each of its last two games, including a 63-7 victory over St. Clair in a district final last week.
East English is a consolidation of Crockett and Finney High School and is 9-2 on the season, with many now calling the Bulldogs contenders to the Eaglets’ Division 3 state title.
“They run very well. They’re physical and they have a couple backs that can really go,” Porritt said.