By: John Raffel
Lansing Catholic edges defending state champion West Catholic
Special To Sports Scene
LANSING CATHOLIC 15 GRAND RAPIDS WEST CATHOLIC 14
Lansing Catholic and Grand Rapids West Catholic have had an intense playoff rivalry that goes back to 2010. But the teams never meet in the regular season. West Catholic has beaten Lansing four out of the last five times they have met. West Catholic has won five straight titles and six titles out of the last seven years. They are 111-18 for that time period. But on Thursday in Grand Rapids, Lansing Catholic prevailed 15-14.
West Catholic started strong and Lansing Catholic’s defense started just as strong. Lansing Catholic got the first first down five minutes into the game. West Catholic had a four and out and an interception. But a big penalty against Lansing set up a short field for West Catholic and the Falcons scored on a short pass. Three punts later, West Catholic connected on a 37-yard pass from Spencer Zobro to Nick Dorato for the second score.
Lansing Catholic got its third first down with a minute left in the half to threaten, but two QB sacks stopped that drive. Lansing Catholic had only 54 total yards in the first half, while West Catholic's Zach Patin had 72 yards rushing by himself and Spencer Zobro had two TD passes for 5 and 37 yards.
The second half was a different story. Lansing Catholic started with an 11-play (53 yards) drive that was stopped with a Kramer QB sack (he was sacked five times) at the 10 yard line. West Catholic was stopped again and after a short punt, the Cougars drove 55 yards in six plays for their first TD. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Kramer ran 22 yards on an option play for the score.
Three series later, Lansing Catholic began the winning 82-yard dive. Kramer completed four passes (for 33 yards) and became part of a "broken" play that will be remembered for a long time. Zach (Josh Kramer cousin) Gillespie started to run a sweep to the left; but that was stuffed by the West Catholic's defense-he then reversed his run and was soon in the grasp of a tackler, when he saw Josh a few yards away. The lateral bounced to Josh and he ran untouched for the 49-yard score.
LC Coach Jim Ahern went for a two-point conversion. Kramer went out to pass, but all receivers were covered. He lowered his head and bulled over two defenders for the winning conversion.
West Catholic had only 47 total yards (20 plays) in the second half. Thos included an 18-yard run by Patin and a 12-yard pass to Zane Way. Patin finished with 99 yards rushing for the game.
OFFENSE-.Kramer ended up with 149 yards rushing and two TDs. He was 15-18 for 117 yards. He had seven tackles. Josh has scored seven TDs this year (4 rushing, 2 passing and a 76-yard pass interception TD).
DEFENSE- Sam Edwards had 15 tackles and a QB sack. Misha Kleiman had 11 tackles (one for a loss). Colin Day had 8 tackles (one for a loss). Kabbash Richards had 7 tackles and had a QB sack.