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Grand Rapids Catholic Central looking to win back-to-back state titles

Cougars are playing for fifth state championship in six years.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — To say that Grand Rapids Catholic Central is in familiar territory while preparing for the division 5 state championship, would be an understatement. Since 2016 the Cougars have more appearances in the state championship game (5) than they do total losses (4).

This year they're back at Ford Field, trying to win back-to-back titles. Cougars senior lineman Jack Krajewski says the team has a very simple mindset as they work to accomplish that goal.  "Just preparing throughout the week," he said. "It's been our motto all season to outwork, out prepare and finish every game. I think if we continue to have the right approach and great preparation we'll get it done this Saturday."

It won't be easy.  The Cougars are playing Marine City (13-0) at 4:30 pm on Saturday. The Mariners won three state championships between 2007 and 2013, and they've only lost three games in the last three seasons. 

"They're a championship-level football program, make no mistake about it," said Cougars head coach Todd Kolster. "Their kids play as hard as anybody we have played. That's one of the things I really like about them. They just try and hit you and knock you around. That's just the way the game is supposed to be played."

Physicality is a big reason why Catholic Central is back in the title game. Especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Cougars haven't allowed an offensive touchdown in the last two weeks. In fact, the defense has allowed 19 points total in the past five games.

The offense hasn't missed a beat either under backup quarterback John Passinault. In fact, he's done so well that senior receiver Nolan Ziegler is 85 yards shy of the Cougars single-season record for receiving yards, and he's 88 yards away from 1,300. Despite all this, Kolster still believes that his team hasn't played their best football yet. 

"I really believe in our team. I believe we have the ability to be great and I don't think we're there yet. That's what we're still searching for, that's what we're still seeking. We've got one more opportunity this year to try and get there." 

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