MARSHALL, Mich. - Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central finally figured out the formula for success playing in a Division 6 state semifinal at Marshall High.
The Falcons, who lost in the state semifinal game the previous two seasons, refused to call it quits against Montague yesterday afternoon, even after allowing the Wildcats to rally from a 16-0 deficit to force overtime.
SMCC (12-1) outplayed Montague in the extra session to earn a 24-22 overtime victory that secured the Falcons a place in the Division 6 state championship game against Kingsley at 4:30 Friday at Ford Field.
"This is really huge for our program," said SMCC coach Jack Giarmo, in between handshakes and hugs from Falcons supporters who stormed the field after a goal-line stand on a two-point try by the Falcons' defense
secured the win.
However, before the Falcons' defense was called onto the field in OT, the Falcons' offense went to work.
Running back Linzie Robinson fought his way through the Montague defense for a touchdown from two yards out on fourth down, and quarterback Josh Bicy swept around right end untouched for the two-point conversion to give the Falcons a 24-16 lead.
T.J. Barr scored from four yards out to bring the Wildcats (10-3) within two points of the Falcons, but SMCC's defense halted Montague fullback Zach Schmitt only inches from scoring on a two-point conversion that would have sent the game into a second overtime.
SMCC players and fans raced toward the end of the field where defensive end Nick Satterfield had just met head-on with Schmitt.
"We had the desire and we made up our minds we weren't going to give up," Satterfield said. "This means so much to us. After three times coming back here we finally did it."
Ken Hall, a three-year starter at center, said SMCC had waited long enough for this moment.
"The win covers the wounds, definitely," said Hall, a senior. "Before, it was an open wound."
Bicy, a junior who is in his first season as the Falcons' starting QB, didn't attempt a single pass in the game but rushed for 62 yards on 11 carries.
Robinson, who finished with 101 yards on 17 carries, put the Falcons in front with a 32-yard touchdown scamper midway through the first quarter.
However, it's the short-yardage touchdown in overtime that Robinson, a 5-foot-9, 165-pound junior, will probably remember the most.
"I just put my head down and just kept lifting my knees," he said.
SMCC halfback Neal Howey, who had missed a couple of games with injury, rushed for a team-best 114 yards on six carries, including a 43-yard touchdown run that gave the Falcons a 16-0 lead with 2:01 left in the opening quarter.
Contact Donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6302.42.27492 -84.96425