MARQUETTE - The Marion Eagles made a great opening impression in their first 8-player state championship appearance at the Superior Dome. But after that, Adrian Lenawee Christian took control, as the Cougars defeated the Eagles 36-18 to claim the 8-Player Division 2 State Championship on Saturday.
The Eagles’ Gavin Prielipp got the fans out of their seats on the opening kickoff of the game, taking it back 76 yards for a touchdown and quick 6-0 lead.
The Cougars needed less than two minutes to respond, marching down the field, and capping the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Sam Lutz to Easton Boggs. The point after was good, and Lenawee Christian would take the lead at 7-6.
Late in the first quarter, Lutz would score on the ground from seven yards out to give Lenawee Christian a 14-6 lead after 12 minutes of play.
Early in the second quarter, the Cougars would strike again, with Lutz scoring on a 1-yard run. Boggs would snag his second touchdown of the afternoon later in the half, and Max Stamats would boot a field goal to give Adrian Lenawee Christian a commanding 29-6 halftime advantage.
The Cougars got the ball to start the third quarter, but fumbled it away to the Eagles. Marion would drive deep into Lenawee territory, but would come up just short on a fourth down play, and turn it over on downs. Boggs then scored his third touchdown of the contest to stretch the lead out to 36-6.
“They just have so much speed,” Marion coach Chad Grundy said after the game. “To have to defend the pass and have to worry about their fast quarterback was a real tough challenge for us.”
Marion would get off the mat to tally a pair of scores in the fourth quarter. James Williams scored on a 30-yard “tackle eligible” pass play to cut the gap to 36-12. Then, later in the fourth Cole Meyer would dive just inside the pylon for a 3-yard score on a fourth down play to make it 36-18.
“There was no quit in us,” Grundy said. “And I’m just so proud of the way that they battled back.”
“We never gave up, got a couple of big plays in the second half, and put some points on the board,” Grundy added. “We played hard.”
Meyer was the game’s leading rusher, going for 66 yards on 11 carries. McCrimmon added 49 yards on the ground, and Prielipp recorded 48 yards.
Lutz was spectacular on the afternoon, completing 20-of-23 passes for 350 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 46 yards and two scores. Boggs caught nine passes for 210 yards and those three touchdowns.
Aaron Whitney led the Eagles defense with nine tackles, while Williams and Meyer each had six.
The Eagles finish the season as state runners up with an 11-1 overall record. They will lose twelve players off of the team to graduation.