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STATE CHAMPS! Kingsley claims Division 6 State Title

DETROIT - Eli Graves nabbed four touchdowns to lead the Kingsley Stags to the program’s second-ever state championship, a 38-24 Division 6 triumph over Almont on Saturday evening.

Graves ran for 210 yards on 33 carries in the contest, the biggest coming on a six-yard touchdown run with 2:19 left that secured the victory for the Stags.

Kingsley raced out to an early lead, scoring on their first three possessions of the game to build a 22-3 lead late in the second quarter.


Almont responded with a long kickoff return that set up their lone first half touchdown, sending the game to the locker at halftime with Kingsley in front 22-10.

The Raiders got the ball to start the third quarter, and scored on the second play from scrimmage, on a 65-yard run by Chase Battani. That score pulled Almont within a score at 22-17.

The Stags got back on the board on the first snap of the fourth quarter, when quarterback Gavyn Merchant found Chase Bott for a 35-yard touchdown. Merchant completed four of nine passes for 66 yards and that one touchdown.

Almont would answer with a 17-yard touchdown pass, their only pass completion of the game, with just under eight minutes to play to pull within six points at 30-24.


But, the Stags would grind down the clock on their next possession, converting a couple of key fourth down and third-and-long plays to get in position for Graves’ six-yard score.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Raiders fumbled, and Kingsley was able to recover, setting off celebrations on the sidelines and in the stands at Ford Field.

For the game, the Stags outgained the Raiders, 397-191, racking up 331 yards on the ground. They also won the time of possession, holding the ball for 33:35, to just 14:25 for the Raiders.

“We have the best O-line in division 6,” Graves said in his postgame interview.


The state championship is the second for head coach Tim Wooer in his second stint with the school. He won his first title back in 2005 during his first run with the Stags.

“The morals, the ethics, the leadership... when I was 24 years old it was all about having the biggest, fastest, strongest kids. The longer I coach the more I understand that having guys like this leading your team is the magic potion,” the head coach said.

Kingsley finishes the dream season with a 12-2 overall record, while losing 12 seniors (including Graves and Merchant) to graduation.

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