The third-ranked Mendon Hornets opened the Division 8 MHSAA football postseason with a Pre-District win over Lake Michigan Catholic 28-12 Saturday, setting up a District final between the Hornets and defending state champion Muskegon Catholic Central next week. Mendon’s dominant defense had another strong showing, forcing two interceptions and holding the Lakers to seven rushing yards.
After forcing a punt to start the game, the Hornets quickly scored with a four-yard run from Cole Decker. Mendon forced another punt and drove to the one-yard line, but were denied by LMC for a turnover on downs. The Lakers then had a scoring drive that traveled 99 yards, finished with a 37-yard pass from Zach Rogers to Christian Monconduit. The score came right at the start of the second quarter and put the Lakers down 7-6 after a missed extra point.
Both teams would have a giveaway and multiple punts in the second quarter. Mendon was able to score once more and take a 14-6 lead into halftime on an 11-yard passing touchdown from Decker to Hunter Lovell.
Mendon started with the ball in the third quarter and kept the ball for more than 10 minutes, traveling 70 yards on a drive with 19 rushes. A two-yard Wyatt Cool rush punched into the end zone for a 21-6 lead with 1:23 left in the third quarter. The Hornets would force a turnover on downs and interception on the following LMC drives and score one more midway through the fourth on a 32-yard Lovell rush. The Lakers added a 17-yard pass touchdown from Rogers to Conner Christensen late in the fourth for the 28-12 final, following a failed two-point try.
Mendon unofficially tallied 390 rushing yards, 178 of which came from sophomore Austin Rensi on 20 carries. Wyatt Cool had 99 on 21 runs. For the Lakers, Zach Rogers was 11-33 for 187 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.
Lake Michigan Catholic finishes the year at 7-3. For Mendon, they move to 10-0 and host top-ranked Muskegon Catholic Central (8-1) in a state championship-level District final next Saturday.
The broadcast from Saturday’s game will be uploaded later Saturday evening, as there is currently an issue with WordPress preventing the upload.
Listen live online Saturday at 1 p.m. on the Slocum Sports Network to a MHSAA Division 8 Pre-District football game between the Mendon Hornets and Lake Michigan Catholic Lakers. It’s a rematch of last year’s Pre-District, a game Mendon won 39-12.
Mendon enters the playoffs at 9-0 with only 45 points allowed this season, the lowest in the entire state. They’re also averaging an impressive 45.1 per game offensively. Apart from their 34-24 week eight win over Cassopolis, the Hornets dominated the competition in the first year of the Southwest 10 Conference, including six shutouts.
Ranked third in the final Associated Press Division 8 poll, Mendon is in the postseason for the 11th consecutive season. In that stretch, they’ve made it to the Regional round in all but the last two seasons, falling in last year’s district final to Climax-Scotts. In 2011, the Hornets claimed their most recent state championship.
Lake Michigan Catholic (who co-ops with Countryside Academy) enters at 7-2 and won all four of their games within the BCS Blue Division. The Laker defense is allowing a solid 17.1 points per game while scoring 32.4 per contest. Their two losses came in week four and five to a much larger Parchment (30-0) and defending Division 8 champion and top-ranked Muskegon Catholic Central (55-13). The last Pre-District victory for LMC came in 2002.
Briefly conference rivals, Mendon and Lake Michigan Catholic have met 12 times before, seven times in the playoffs. In all 12, the Hornets were the winner. The winner advances to the District final against either defending champion Muskegon Catholic Central or Decatur.
The sixth-ranked Lake Michigan Catholic Lakers advanced to the Division 4 MHSAA baseball quarterfinals with a pair of 5-3 victories Saturday over top-five ranked opponents. The Lakers defeated fourth-ranked Hackett Catholic in the semifinal, then topped fifth-ranked Centreville in the final. The Bulldogs had advanced after a 6-3 win over the hosting Decatur Raiders.
In the championship, the Lakers scored in the first inning, but fell behind after two in the second and one in the third from Centreville. Two from LMC in the bottom of the third put the game at 3-3, which it stayed at until the bottom of the sixth inning. Freshman Matthew DeFay had a one-out single, followed by an RBI triple from Zach Rogers. He would score on an error for extra cushion.
Andrew Kangas was solid in relief for the Lakers. He pitched the final five innings, allowing four hits, one run, two walks, and three strikeouts. DeFay had two runs on three hits, Rogers had two hits, two runs, and an RBI, and Jake Kissane brought in three on two hits. Alex Meyer started for Centreville, allowing three runs on seven hits in four innings. The win avenges a Regional semifinal loss to Centreville from last season for LMC.
In their earlier win over Hackett, LMC initially trailed thanks to a three-run first inning for the Irish. Aided by fielding woes, the Lakers put up single runs in the first, second, and third to tie the game. Like against Centreville, the sixth inning is where they broke through, using a walk, double, and single to plate two runs. DeFay pitched 6.1 innings, allowing five hits, three runs, one earned, with three walks and six strikeouts.
In the first game of the day, Decatur started up with a first-inning run against Centreville. The Bulldogs matched in the second, with the Raiders adding two in the third. The Bulldogs again matched one inning later, then jumped ahead with one in the fifth and two in the sixth. Coletin Gascho pitched a complete game, allowing four hits, three runs, one earned, with two walks and six strikeouts.
Centreville ends the year at 19-3, with Hackett finishing 25-5 and Decatur at 16-16. Lake Michigan Catholic improves to 28-5 and meets Hudson Tuesday in the quarterfinal at 5 p.m. from Bailey Park in Battle Creek.
Listen back to Saturday’s Regional games below:
LMC VS CENTREVILLE
LMC VS HACKETT
CENTREVILLE VS DECATUR
Listen live online Saturday on Michigan Sports Radio and the Slocum Sports Network to the Regional 29 baseball tournament from Decatur High School. The action begins at 10 a.m. with the hosting Decatur Raiders facing the fifth-ranked Centreville Bulldogs. At noon, the fourth-ranked Hackett Catholic Irish play the sixth-ranked Lake Michigan Catholic Lakers. The winners meet at 2 p.m. with a trip to the quarterfinals on the line.
Centreville is the defending Regional champion and was the Division 4 runner-up two seasons ago. They defeated the other three on their way to last season’s final four appearance. They topped Hackett 4-2 in the District final, edged LMC 3-2 in the Regional semifinal and blanked Decatur 8-0 in the Regional final. The Bulldogs are 18-2 this season, having defeated Howardsville and Marcellus in district 115.
Decatur was the Division 3 runner up in 2014, but the Raiders have been stopped by Centreville the last two years. At 16-15 overall, Decatur dropped 17th-ranked and District 113 host Lawrence 6-4 and outraced Holland Calvary 19-9. Despite the weakest overall record, having home-field advantage and a four-time state champion coach in Ben Botti makes the Raiders a significant threat.
Hackett Catholic is the highest-ranked by the final coaches poll, fresh off wins over Kalamazoo Christian and Bellevue for their first district crown since 1988. The Irish are 25-4 overall and are hoping to have their deepest playoff run ever in baseball. Last season, they set a school-record with 28 wins.
Lake Michigan Catholic is into the Regional round for the fourth consecutive year, although they haven’t advanced beyond Regionals in this stretch. Their deepest run came with a runner-up finish in 2010. At 26-5, the Lakers pounded New Buffalo and River Valley in the district tournament.
Listen live to all three games Saturday online via the Slocum Sports Network and Michigan Sports Radio. Game one is at 10 a.m. between Decatur and Centreville, followed by Hackett and LMC at noon and the final around 2 p.m.