While one side of the Region put up 121 points in one game, the Detroit Country Day vs. Notre Dame Prep game turned into a defensive struggle that came down to the last drive. In the end, a failed 2-point conversion is all that separated these two great programs, and Tyler Weigers and Country Day hoisted a well-earned District Championship trophy. Juniors Richard Wilson and Mo Ways scored Country Days touchdowns, but this was a true team effort on both sides of the ball.
Junior QB Tyler Wiegers threw a perfect TD pass to Mo Ways in the first quarter, and it looked like DCD was running on all cylinders. But, NDP's defense settled in and starting getting big stops. After senior Nick Boswell intercepted a pass for DCD, it appeared as though they would go up 14-0 before half-time, but Notre Dame confused the DCD offensive line with delayed blitzes that were getting to Wiegers.
"Credit them for playing extremely well," said DCD coach Dan MacLean after the game. "Their kids made big plays and they were well coached. They caused a lot of problems for us on offense and they played a great game. We've got to play better if we want to move on, but it was a great win for us."
In the second half, junior ATH Jacob Hill had a phenomenal punt return down to the 1-yard line to put Country Day in scoring position. A holding call moved them back 10 yards and made Richard Wilson earn his only TD of the night as he carried the ball outside before making a great cut-back that put him into the end zone standing up. That TD put DCD up 14-0 in the 3rd quarter.
That's when Notre Dame QB Brenden Newvine really came alive. This was only Newvine's second start, so most people didn't have very high expectations, but the kid was sensational. He began to pick the Country Day defense apart, and manufactured a very impressive drive that ended with him carrying it into the end-zone himself. The PAT was blocked, so the score stood at 14-6 in the 4th quarter.
Newvine was rolling out on just about every passing play and throwing darts on the run. His receivers were making catches, and there was a noticeable change in the energy.
Notre Dame prep had the momentum and it looked like the wheels were falling off the bus for Country Day. They dropped the kick return on the 2-yard line, and had an offensive interference call go against them on the first play of the drive which negated a 20-yard pass thrown by Wiegers out of the end-zone.
Country Day eventually settled down. They had the ball near the 50-yard line on a 4th-and-1 with just a few minutes left in the game. They went for it, but NDP swarmed to the ball and got it back on down.
"We decided to go for it there because we thought it would have put the game away," explained MacLean. "Credit them for making a big play. That probably would have ended the game if we got it."
Instead, Newvine felt the energy, and drove his team down the field where he ran it in himself to bring the score to 14-12. That blocked PAT was a big deal at this point, and NDP had no choice but to go for the 2-point conversion.
Country Day senior LB Gianmarco Rea and multiple teammates caught Newvine off-guard with a delayed blitz of their own and sacked him to end the play. The on-side kick was recovered by DCD and the game was over.
The win gave Country Day the District Championship and the opportunity to host Grosse Ile, who upset Dearborn Heights Robichaud with their 70-point offense outburst, in the Regionals next week.