Shamrocks too much in semifinals
by TIM COOPER and MATT WEAVER
Things looked good early for the Rockford Rams football team on Saturday, Nov. 19, as Brandon Lubenow returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. Then a Steven Mette field goal on the Rams’ second possession put them up by 10.
Then things began to change. An uncharacteristic pass interception by Mark LaPrairie gave Detroit Catholic Central the ball on the Rockford 23-yard line. Four plays later, the Shamrock quarterback Kyle Cooper found Mark Doneth in the end zone, making the score 10-7.
The Rams’ next drive went 69 yards, ending with a 14-yard LaPrairie-to-Lubenow pass, again putting Rockford up by 10. Midway through the drive, running backs Connor Darby and Ryan Hartley came off the field due to injury, forcing Coach Ralph Munger to rely on his reserves.
Detroit Catholic Central used a pair of halfback passes on their next drive, the second a 21-yard strike which placed the ball at the Rockford 2-yard line. The Shamrocks pulled back to within three on the following play, when fullback David Houle dove through the Ram defense for a touchdown.
A 45-yard pass to Lubenow gave the Rams one final scoring opportunity before the end of the half. With seven seconds remaining, LaPrairie found Justin Wustman open in the middle of the field. Wustman’s second effort fell short at the Shamrock 1-yard line as time expired.
The second half started with Detroit Catholic Central using their strong running game to take control of the clock. The only points in the second half came on a 27-yard field goal by Shamrock Alex Kozlowski, which tied the score at 17.
It appeared the Shamrocks had everything going their way late in the fourth quarter, as they drove the ball to the Ram 3-yard line. With 30 seconds remaining, Kozlowski set up for the game-winning field goal. The kick was blocked by the interior of the Ram defensive front, sending the game into overtime.
Detroit Catholic Central, having won the coin toss, chose to play defense. Rockford, having failed to advance the ball 10 yards to score, settled for a 26-yard Mette field goal and a 20-17.
On the Shamrocks’ second play, Houle caught a pass from Cooper, giving their team a 23-20 victory, advancing their team to this week’s state finals at Ford Field.