BLISSFIELD, Mich. - Blissfield could not control the three-back attack yesterday that Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central utilized to capture a Division 6 district title.
The Falcons (10-1) nearly had three runners each rush for 100-plus yards, and they racked up 471 yards on the ground to take out the Royals 46-23.
A standing-room-only crowd of about 3,000 packed four rows deep surrounding the field to watch Monroe St. Mary defeat Blissfield for the third straight year in the district final.
"Today was a tough game," Falcons coach Jake Giarmo said. "It was a total team effort. We try to spread it out so they can't control one guy."
Junior Linzie Robinson led St. Mary with 169 yards on 15 carries. Robinson scored on runs of 37 and 51 yards to score St. Mary's first points of the game.
Senior Matt Lieto ran for 144 yards on 15 attempts and scored three touchdowns.
"It's fun when we can run like that," said Lieto, who put the game out of reach with touchdown runs of 55 and 52 yards in the fourth quarter.
Shifty junior quarterback Josh Bicy carried 12 times for 98 yards and scored on a three-yard sweep.
"Our offensive line is our heart and soul," Bicy said. "We have the desire and will to not get tackled when they're blocking well like that."
But Blissfield, which suffered its first loss (10-1), kept it close throughout. In fact the Royals had a 15-8 lead early on thanks to senior quarterback Andrew Estes.
Estes, the coach's son, played a role in all of the Royals' 23 points. Estes returned a kick off 76 yards for a touchdown and hauled in a 29-yard pass from his sophomore brother John to give Blissfield a brief seven-point lead late in the first quarter.
"It was neat to watch him run up and down the field," Blissfield coach Ron Estes said. "Any dad would be proud to have their two boys be part of a great football team. But all 20 of those seniors are like my sons. I've coached them since third grade."
Estes also scored on a quarterback sneak to make it a seven-point game with 7:33 left in the third. The Royals held the big-play Falcons to just five total yards in the third quarter.
It was still a one-touchdown game when Lieto broke off a 55-yard scamper on the fifth play of the fourth quarter. Five minutes later, Lieto scored on a 52-yard romp.
Monroe St. Mary advances to play Manchester (10-1) in the D-6 regional final next weekend.
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6110.41.83278 -83.86311