Big 2nd half carries Muskegon Catholic Central to Division 8 title

The Crusaders finished with a perfect 14-0 record for the second time in three years

Muskegon Catholic Central wins the Division 8 title game against Ottawa Lake Whiteford at Ford Field on Nov. 25, 2016.

DETROIT (WOOD) — It took a while for the Muskegon Catholic Central football team to get its offense clicking. Once it did, the Crusaders were able to celebrate another state championship in impressive fashion.

MCC collected its fourth consecutive MHSAA Division 8 title Friday with a 35-6 win over Ottawa Lake Whiteford at Ford Field in Detroit.

The Crusaders became only the fifth team in MHSAA history to win four or more state titles in a row.

They finished with a perfect 14-0 record for the second time in three years.

“This means everything,” MCC senior linebacker Andrew Schulte said. “Coming off that field, looking at the crowd. I will remember that forever.”

After a scoreless first quarter, MCC opened the scoring when senior Logan Helton scored from five yards out.

The Bobcats responded late in the quarter and trimmed the deficit. Quarterback Thomas Eitniear scampered 81 yards for the score.

The two-point conversion was missed; however, and the Crusaders held a 7-6 lead at the half.

“We felt good at halftime,” MCC coach Steve Czerwon said. “We made maybe one adjustment, but we just knew we had to have the ball a little bit and eventually we were going to make some plays.”

MCC’s offense came alive in the second half, outscoring Ottawa Lake Whiteford 28-0.

Helton scored his second touchdown run of the game on the Crusaders’ first possession of the second half to make it 14-6.

Freshmen quarterback Cameron Martinez added to the lead when he reached over the goal line with the ball to cap a five yard run.

Martinez’s older brother, Christian, helped guide the Crusaders to the championship last season.

“Every time they made it, I watched from the crowd and I couldn’t wait to put on the gold helmet and bring this team back again,” Martinez said. “I love this group of seniors and I wanted to give them their fourth straight title.”

MCC’s stretched out its advantage in the fourth quarter with two more scores.

Senior LaTommy Scott sprinted 25 yards for a touchdown and Walker Christoffersen capped the scoring with an eight yard run.

The Crusaders never trailed the entire season, and its defense stepped up several times to stymie drives. The Bobcats were zero for five on fourth down.

“They had us on the ropes a few times,” Czerwon said. “This season, teams have driven on us and driven on us, but we’ve always come up big to make stops inside the 20, inside the 10. It’s a credit to the kids for not quitting.”

The Crusaders will graduate 14, but the future remains bright with the return of Martinez, as well as others, next season.

“The program is in good hands,” Helton said. “I don’t expect anything less than what we’ve been doing.”