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  • Jim Townsend

Shamrocks Come Up Short in Championship

The Shamrocks of St. Patrick School met the Trojans of Crystal Falls Forest Park in the MHSAA 8-Player Division 2 Football Championship Game at the Superior Dome in Marquette on Saturday afternoon. The Shamrocks fought right up to the end, but lost 54-12.

Forest Park won the coin toss and elected to receive. On their very first possession the Trojans would score when Connor Bortolini scored on a five-yard TD run 10:13 left in first. Bortolini also ran in the two-point conversion, putting the Trojans up 8-0.

The Shamrocks would also score on their first possession when Will Simon caught a pass from Tanner Lawson and ran it in for a 19-yard touchdown with 8:30 left in first. The Shamrock two-point pass was no good and the score was 8-6.

Forest Park would score again in their very next possession when Bortolini punched in a six-yard run with 4:32 left in first. The two-point conversion run by Peter Ropiak was also good, and the Trojans led 16-6.

The explosive Trojan offense scored again on their next possession when Bortolini scored again, this time on a 23-yard run with 11:54 left in 2nd. The Shamrock defense stopped the two-point conversion run by Bortolini, and the Trojans lead went to 22-6.

The Shamrock punt team got off a beautiful 60+ yard punt to pin Forest Park inside their own 15. The Shamrock defense then held the Trojans, forcing the, into their first punt of the game.

While the Shamrock offense was seeing some mixed success, the very large Trojan defensive line was making it difficult for the Shamrocks to move the ball. While the game program did not list weights of players, I would estimate that Trojan nose guard Tyler Peltoma may have weighed 100 pounds more than any Shamrock lineman.

Bertolini would continue proving difficult to tackle, and he scored again on a seven-yard TD run. The Shamrocks stopped Bertolini on the two-point run, and the score went to 28-6 3:42 left in second.

On their final possession of the half, the Trojans would reach the end zone one more time when Ropiak broke free for a 52-yard TD run 1:26 remaining. The two-point conversion run by Ropiak was also good.

At halftime Forest Park led 36 to 6.

While the Shamrock defense continued to battle, but Forest Park’s Ropiak would score twice in the third quarter with 56 and 46-yard touchdown runs. Both two-point conversion runs were stopped, but the Trojans extended their lead to 48-6 with 3:51 remaining in third.

The Shamrock offense was able to piece together a drive late in the third. That drive was capped off with a one-yard touchdown run by Isaiah Smith. Jeff Davlin’s PAT sailed just left, and the Shamrocks trailed 48-12 at the end of the third.

In the fourth quarter, Forest Park’s Calvin Post scored on a one-yard run with 6:02 left in game

The two-point conversion run was stopped by the Shamrocks, and the Trojans led 54-12

The Shamrock offense put together one final drive as time ticked away, but with only 16 seconds left Lawson’s pass was picked off in the end zone. The final score was 54-12.

Having attended most of the Shamrock games this season personally, I was lucky enough to watch a very talented team. This team was fun to watch, and had a very successful season. While the championship game didn’t end the way they wanted it to, this group of young men should be extremely proud of their season, and finishing second in the state.

Congratulations on a great season Shamrocks!

This week’s coverage of the Shamrock’s state finals game is sponsored by Marc Nichols Insurance Agency.

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