DETROIT – The football team hasn’t had a day this bad in more than 40 years.
The Shamrocks suffered its worst loss since 1971 on high school football’s biggest stage, falling to Detroit Cass Tech 49-13 Saturday at the Division 1 State Championships at Ford Field.
“Today, we just came unraveled,” said Tom Mach, Catholic Central's head coach.
For Mach, it was the first time in 36 years as the Shamrocks coach that an opponent forced a running clock, a 35-point or greater deficit in the second half, against his team.
Novi's Catholic Central (12-2) looked nothing like the heavy favorite it was coming into the game.
“We got outplayed today,” Mach said. “I was very proud of our team throughout the whole year, but we met our match today. They (Cass Tech) did a great job.”
Technicians freshman quarterback Jayru Campbell sliced and diced the Shamrocks defense for over 240 passing yards on 13-of-20 passing and five touchdowns.
The five passing touchdowns tied a state record set by Macomb Dakota’s Mitch Lovett in the 2007 Division 1 finals game.
“On the first day of practice over the summer, I told his (Jayru’s) dad, he’s going to going to shock the world,” Technicians head coach Thomas Wilcher said.
Cass Tech (11-3) came right out of the gate attacking Catholic Central’s secondary.
“I told the guys that there’s no way they are going to shut us down,” Wilcher said. “If we don’t throw for over 300 yards or more, I said it’s going to be our fault. There are too many ways to pass the ball against this team. We just took advantage of it, we knew that was the key to beating them.”
On the Technicians second drive, Campbell helped set up his team’s first touchdown with a 15-yard screen pass to Ruben Lile and a 17-yard pass to Jordan Lewis.
Royce Jenkins-Stone finished the drive off on a 32-yard touchdown run right through the middle of Catholic Central’s big defensive line with 5:57 to go in the first.
Campbell then put Cass Tech up 14-0 with a 46-yard bomb to Lile in the second quarter.
The junior caught the ball at the 10-yard line and then pushed forward to the goal line with a Catholic Central defender on his back.
Campbell closed out the first half with a 36-yard strike to Terry Richardson for his second touchdown of the half. Facing a long third-and-17, Richardson beat his man down field and caught a perfectly thrown ball to give the Technicians a 21-7 lead with only 1:26 left in the second quarter.
“We wanted to get a little more pressure on him, but we didn’t,” Mach said. “They did a really good job of keeping us out, so he could stand back there and wait for his receivers to get open. They had athletes spread across the field and they used the talent on the field really well.”
The touchdown capped off a near perfect half for the freshman. He went into the locker room with 166 yards on 9-of-15 passing.
His lone mistake of the first half was an interception to Catholic Central defensive back Michael Schultz.
Rolling to his left, the freshman was trying to make something happen on one of the few plays the Shamrocks pressured him. Campbell didn't see Schultz cutting across field in front of his receiver Jordan Lewis.
Catholic Central’s only touchdown of the first half came on a quick four play, 54 yard touchdown drive. On a fourth-and-three, Kyle Cooper hit Anthony Darkangelo with a swing pass out of the backfield. Darkangelo went 49-yards up the Cass Tech sideline for the touchdown.
Technicians defensive backs Erron Enoex and Delano Hill collided with each other on the play to give Darkangelo the open field.
State championship is first for Cass Tech
Cass Tech didn’t waste anytime adding to its lead coming out of halftime. Catholic Central opened the third quarter with the ball and after a quick three-and-out the Technicians blocked Alex Kozlowski’s punt at the 18-yard line.
Two plays later, Campbell hit Shuron Jackson for a touchdown to make it 28-7 with 9:39 remaining in the third.
Catholic Central comeback hopes ended a couple minutes later when the defense couldn’t stop Cass Tech offense on a fourth-and-three at its own goal line. Campbell hooked up with Jenkins-Stone for a touchdown to push the Technicians lead to 35-7.
“Catholic Central came back in every game in the third and fourth quarter,” Wilcher said. “I said we are not going to let up. I don’t care what the score saying. Just score, score, score as much as we can. I don’t want to give them any opportunity at all.”
Campbell completed his fifth touchdown to Lewis at the start of the fourth quarter. He hit Lewis with a 46-yard pass to give Cass Tech a 42-7 lead and forced the running clock.
Cass Tech’s final score - leading to its first state championship - came on an interception by Jenkins-Stone. He picked of a pass at the 36-yard line and ran it into the end zone. The ball bounced right of Darkangelo’s chest into Jenkins-Stone’s hands.
With the game out of hand, Catholic Central added a touchdown with 2:13 left. David Houle scored on a 1-yard run. The extra-point attempt was no good and it made the score 49-13.
The Shamrocks came into the game averaging nearly 200 rushing yards a game. On Saturday, it only managed 82 yards on 25 carries.
“We are a pound it out type team,” Mach said. “We just weren’t able to do that today.”