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MHSAA Division 8 Championship - MCC 35, Beal City 12

2:02 PM, Nov 29, 2013   |    comments
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Muskegon Catholic Central celebrates its 35-12 win over Beal City in the Division 8 state championship game.

DETROIT (Detroit Free Press) -- Nick Holt isn't an interior decorator, yet he already knows how to fill that blank area in Muskegon Catholic's weight room.

"We've had nine state champions and we had the pictures of all nine state champions on the wall, and there's an area for us to be there next, an empty spot, and we just talked about how that's going to be us," he said after quarterbacking the Crusaders to a 35-12 win over Beal City in Friday morning's Division 8 final at Ford Field.

"(Lineman) Mickey Reilly's dad takes millions of pictures, I'm not even kidding, probably a million pictures a year, and he puts them in our weight room," Holt said. "They're gigantic, two feet wide. They're big, so we always get to look at that."

Holt could picture his dream starting to come true after Alex Lewandoski broke loose for a 78-yard touchdown run on Muskegon Catholic's first play from scrimmage.

"It was just a regular Power-7 and the line just blocked great, I don't even think I got touched on the play, so I just have to give the credit to them," Lewandoski said. "With our line, you always suspect there will be a hole. Every once in a while you break one. I figured we'd have some holes, especially with our line."

Not only did Lewandoski break that one, he also scored on other runs of 1 and 66 yards, finishing with 218 yards on 16 carries for the Crusaders (12-2).

"I just wanted to get the win. I wasn't quite worried about having a big day," he said.

Even though Beal City (13-1) closed to 7-6 on a 3-yard sweep by Hayden Huber as the first quarter ended, Lewandoski's early score got into the Aggies' heads.

"Obviously, when you give up the first play of the game that hurts, and you're trying to dig yourself out of the hole right off the bat," Beal City coach Lou Rau said. "You're put in a different situation, a different play-calling situation when they're able to break out those big ones."

Lewandoski's 1-yard score put the Crusaders ahead 14-6 in the second, but they were just getting warmed up for the second half. Muskegon Catholic scored four of the first five times they got the ball -- the only failure being a missed field goal attempt -- to put the game out of reach.

Included in that stretch was Lewandoski's third touchdown of the day, another ordinary call where he broke through a hole and scampered for 68 yards.

"People talk about how he's one of the better small-school players in the state, and we just feel he's one of the better players in the state of Michigan and he's just looking to go on and play some college," Crusaders coach Steve Czerwon said. "He just played a heck of a game today; he's a team player and obviously a great individual. I think personally some Division 1 school's missing the boat for the recruiting season coming up."

Tommy Scott (21 yards) and Holt (1-yard sneak) added the final two scores, and Muskegon Catholic was well on its way to posing for its next legacy picture.

"I think the expectations were there because it was the same core group of kids who lost last year as sophomores and freshmen in the semifinals," Czerwon said. "Not only our expectations, but the kids had expectations for themselves, and with that being said, we were able to take the next step. We talked all year about getting to that semifinal game and how important it was to win that game. And then we got to the finals and we thought, why not win it?"

Meanwhile, Beal City -- with two titles of its own (1994, 2009) -- lost in the finals for the second straight year.

"Obviously it didn't turn out the way that we hoped," Rau said. "We made a big hurdle getting here two years in a row, we couldn't finish it off with a W."

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