Legend has it that the mythical phoenix can rise from the dead and be regenerated, but it appears that 40-degree temperatures and heavy rain may complicate that regeneration.
On an incredibly wet and sloppy Saturday afternoon, the Shamrocks of St. Patrick School hosted the Phoenix of International Academy (Flint) in an MHSAA 8-player Regional Championship game, and the Shamrocks came away with the title in an impressive shutout, 50-0.
The Shamrocks started their scoring with 8:55 remaining in the first quarter when junior QB Tanner Lawson connected with senior Colin Cook for a 15-yard touchdown pass. Lawson was successful on the two-point conversion when he snuck it through the right side of the Phoenix defense, putting the Shamrocks ahead with an early 8-0 lead.
The Phoenix offense, who had been successful in putting up some serious points on opponents this year, tried to get things moving early, but on a key fourth down and seven situation, the Shamrock defense held, and got the ball back on their own 48 -yard line.
Shamrock sophomore running back Ned Smith would get the next score for his team when he broke free for a 42-yard touchdown run with 4:46 remaining in the first. The two-point conversion pass to senior Will Simon was good and St. Patrick extended their lead to 16-0.
The wet ball began to really start showing its effect on the Phoenix in their next possession when they fumbled the ball near their own 10-yard line. St. Patrick’s Colin Cook recovered the ball with just 2:41 left in the first. Less than a minute later, Shamrock senior running back Isaiah Smith scored his first touchdown of the game on a three-yard run with 1:46 left in the first. Isaiah Smith was also successful in running in the two-point conversion, putting the Shamrocks up 24-0.
On the very next possession for International Academy possession, Shamrock Will Simon intercepted a pass at the Shamrock 46, with 1:43 left in first. The Shamrocks would drive the ball down to the Phoenix three-yard line where they had a fourth and goal situation, but the Shamrocks fumbled the ball and the Phoenix recovered with 11:12 left in the second
Once the Shamrocks got the ball back, Isaiah Smith picked up his second touchdown of the day when he punched in a one-yard touchdown run with 715 left in the second quarter. The two-point conversion pass was incomplete, and the Shamrocks were ahead 30 to 0 with 7:15 left in 2nd.
With 3:59 remaining in the second quarter, Ned Smith would pick up his second TD of the game on a nine-yard run. The PAT kick by sophomore Jeff Davlin was good, putting the Shamrocks up 37 to 0.
On the final play of the first half, Lawson would connect with senior Will Simon for a 36-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion attempt was a run up the middle, but it was stopped by the Phoenix defense. At the half, the Shamrocks led 43 to 0.
In the third quarter, the Phoenix continued to struggle with the conditions. Their offense was simply unable to put together any sustained drives into the Shamrock red zone. Phoenix players could be seen frequently slipping and sliding around the field
With 1:24 remaining in the third quarter, Isaiah Smith would earn his third TD of the day when he ran it in from three yards out. The PAT kick by Davlin was good, and the Shamrocks extended their lead to 50-0.
For the remainder of the game, the clock would remain running, and the Shamrocks would finish the game with a 50-0 victory, and a regional title.
When asked about his defensive plan for this game, Shamrock Head Coach Patrick Russman said, “We worked really hard on these guys. They have wonderful athletes, and great speed. We have been watching a lot of film on them. They put points up on everyone, so we knew we had our work cut out for us. The boys took it as a challenge. Coach Cross put together a great game plan, and we executed it well.”
When asked how he thought his offense was able to put 50 points on the board on such a wet and sloppy day, Russman said, “Well we were blessed with the opportunity to play Marion in the rain, so unfortunately the field shows it a little bit, but I know Portland High has a great grounds crew and we will give them a heads up and they will get on it. In the Marion game, it just wouldn’t quit raining on that Saturday, so we knew we could play in it and play in it well, so we were prepped for that. Our kids really answered the challenge. Our linemen were awesome today. Isaiah, Ned, and Tanner, all those guys finished runs really well.”
Please visit The Portland Beacon Facebook page to see the full gallery of photos from this game.
The Shamrocks will move on to the state semi-final on Saturday, November 11th, when they will host Kinde-North Huron.
Kinde-North Huron defeated Bay City All Saints in their regional championship 38-36. The Warriors only loss of the season occurred way back in week one when they fell to Dryden 60-34.