Haeger, strong offensive line carry Shamrocks past Northville, 42-17

 Haeger, strong offensive line carry Shamrocks past Northville, 42-17

Catholic Central’s Evan Haeger is pushed out of bounds by Northville’s Cullen Murphy.

Detroit Catholic Central senior running back Evan Haeger ran with the tenacity of Evan Almighty while leading the Shamrocks to a 42-17 victory over Northville in Friday night’s Division 1 district championship game played at Jack Demmer Ford Field.

Running behind a physical front line that was carving open just-wide-enough lanes, the 6-foot-1, 175-pound Haeger piled up 142 yards rushing on 19 carries. The New Hudson resident also scored three touchdowns to help CC maintain a semi-comfortable lead throughout the first half before the visitors ran away from the Mustangs over the final 12 minutes.

Now 8-2, the Shamrocks advanced to next weekend’s D1 regional semifinal game at Belleville. The No. 1-ranked Tigers, playing without suspended head coach Jermain Crowell, pulled away from Saline, 62-44.

Catholic Central's Evan Haeger is stymied by Northville's Hunter Ladach (9), Ferris Jordan (57) and Cooper Hoffman (6).
Catholic Centrals Evan Haeger is stymied by Northvilles Hunter Ladach 9 Ferris Jordan 57 and Cooper Hoffman 6

Although obviously disappointed to see their season end – especially a nucleus of talented seniors – the Mustangs did their school and community proud, finishing with an 8-3 record, their most-successful mark since going 10-1 in 2015.

The loss ended the high school football careers of 27 Mustangs, including captains Luka Prior, Nolan Thomson and Angelo Rodriguez, all of whom flashed moments of brilliance throughout their last campaign.

Prior completed 21 of 33 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns against CC. He also ran 16 yards with a fake punt to keep the Mustangs’ opening drive of the second half alive, capping the scamper with a crowd-pleasing spin move.

Thomson reeled in 11 receptions for 140 yards. He also returned three kickoffs for 93 yards.

Rodriguez finished with six catches for 31 yards and a TD.

The Mustangs' home crowd was large and loud.
The Mustangs home crowd was large and loud

CC sophomore quarterback proved to be a night-long nemesis for Northville, completing 11 of 16 aerials for 135 yards.

The Shamrocks, who weren’t forced to punt until mid-way through the third quarter, led 28-10 at the half thanks to touchdown drives that ranged from 42 to 61 yards. Haeger staked his team to a 7-0 lead 3:19 into the game on a 36-yard run through the heart of the Mustangs’ defense. Jake Matigian tacked on the first of his six extra points.

Northville drove methodically down the field on its first drive, settling for a 30-yard field goal off the booming leg of Sam Wiest, cutting its early deficit to 7-3.

The two teams then exchanged touchdowns. Jaydyn Pydyn, who attended Meads Mills Middle School in Northville, rammed it into the end zone from four yards out.

Just over four minutes later, Prior connected with junior Caden Besco on an 11-yard scoring hook-up.

Brady Blakita breaks Evan Deak's tackle.
Brady Blakita breaks Evan Deaks tackle

CC ended the ping-pong scoring trend by scoring back-to-back TDs to end the half, the first a 5-yard run by Haeger; the second on an 8-yard hook-up from Jackson to Nico Genrich.

The Shamrocks iced the game with a two-touchdown-in-three-plays sequence, with the scores only separated by a fumbled kickoff.

Northville’s final points were the result of a 29-yard pass from Prior to Rodriguez.

Although the teams hadn’t matched up since the 2013 post-season, there was no shortage of familiarity between the players as 11 Shamrocks reside and/or attended middle school in Northville.

If you have a story idea for SocialHouseNews.com, please contact Ed Wright at 734-664-4657 or edwright@socialhousenews.com.

Ed Wright

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