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.