Sunday, November 18, 2007

Defending champ ousts West Catholic

Defending champ ousts West Catholic
Saturday, November 17, 2007
By Greg Johnson
The Grand Rapids Press

MARQUETTE -- The ending didn't turn out the way West Catholic wanted, but first-year coach Dan Rohn said these Falcons showed Falcons of the future something.

"I would have loved to have won a state championship with them, but I think this senior group showed our younger kids what this program is going to be about for a long time," Rohn said after Menominee managed a 41-20 win against West Catholic in a Division 5 semifinal game at the Superior Dome on Saturday.

Menominee, 13-0 and the defending Division 5 state champion riding a 27-game winning streak, will play Jackson Lumen Christi (12-1) Saturday at Ford Field for this year's state title.

West Catholic (12-1), the last of the disbanding City League's football champions, suffered six turnovers, including five interceptions. The Falcons also couldn't handle Menominee single back/quarterback Ethan Shaver.

"We didn't defend the pass well, and we turned the ball over, and you can't do those things if you are going to win these kind of football games," Rohn said. "Menominee is a tremendous team, and we still had a tremendous experience coming up here to play them."

Shaver, a senior running 73-year-old coach Ken Hofer's antique but effective single-wing offense, rushed for a whopping 234 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries, and passed for 115 yards and four more touchdowns on just 7-of-16 throws.

Meanwhile, Kirk Deering, West Catholic's standout senior quarterback, ran for 85 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, and passed for two scores. But he also hit on just 13-of-29 passes with the five interceptions.

"We made a lot of mistakes, and a lot of it was my fault," Deering said. "They started picking up on what we were doing. I give it to them. They did a great job. They executed their scheme very well. Getting behind was rough. We gave it all we could, though, and left it all on the field."

West Catholic trailed 20-14 late in the second quarter, but Jake Kwiatkowski, who rushed for 97 yards in the game, lost a fumble at the Menominee 15-yard line.

"I thought if we could have scored just before halftime and been tied or gone up, maybe it could have been different," Rohn said. "That was a key situation. We got behind in the second half by two touchdowns, and they forced us to do a lot of things we don't like to do."

Rohn said Deering started pressing to bring the Falcons from behind.

"I'll never put blame on anybody," he said. "We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Kirk Deering, and we're here, and it's a bunch of great kids who all year long made the plays. Going 12-1 and losing to a team like that is nothing to be ashamed of."

Deering said he shared words with Shaver after the game.

"That number 15 is a heck of an athlete, and I just told him to go get (the state title) for me," he said.

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