Championship weekend at Ford Field started with the Division 8 championship as 13-0 Beal City took on 12-1 Harbor Beach. Beal City have remain undefeated up to this point while Harbor Beach had one scratch on their resume losing to Menominee in week three.
The game started out rough for the Pirates as Eli Kraft threw an interception on their first possession 30 seconds into the game. Giving Beal City the ball on HB24 yard line. The Aggies from there marched the ball all the way down to the 1 yard line and 4th down went for the opening lead. But from there it all went wrong. From the coach regretting his play call to the referee calling no touchdown on the goal line while replay shows that result could have been opposite.
"That is one of those things that I feel horrible about. I feel like it was the wrong call to make. We had our opportunities to get momentum back and we didn't. The wind kind of got taken out of our sails when we didn't score," said Coach Lou Rau.
From there Eli Craft righted the ship after the interception leading the Pirates to a 14-0 lead at the end of the 1st quarter. He had touchdown passes of 54 and 69 yards, going 3 of 4 for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns.
"It started up front with the offensive line, they did a great job. They gave me enough time to throw and we have great receivers. And coach called a good play and they got open," said QB Eli Kraft.
The 2nd quarter started the basically the same way as Kraft threw another interception but Beal City could do nothing and punted it away. That is when HB got the momentum back with a 76 yard punt return by Aaron Gither to the Beal City 7 yard line. From their they added a touchdown and another touchdown on their following drive giving them a 28-3 lead over Beal City at the half. They continued this pace as they led 28-3 at halftime scoring with 19seconds to go in the second quarter.
After Halftime Beal City came out on fire in the second half. Their first drive ended with a touchdown cutting the pirates lead to 18 points. The future looked bright for the aggies as HB fumbled on their next drive giving BC the ball at Harbor Beach 47 yard line. From there Beal City struggled as they turned the ball over again on downs as the Pirates defense stood strong.
From there it went back and forth until Harbor Beach returned a Beal City Interception 55 yards to the BC 6 yard line and from their Harbor Beach punched it in giving them a 35-10 lead which would not change.
"When you play a team like Beal City you can not rest. We have played other great teams and they came back. So we had to fight hard and through that today. And the guys did that and we closed it out," said Coach Troy Schelke .
Overall the Harbor Beach defense to 291 yards but the key was on fourth downs as Beal City went 0-3 with two critical turnover on downs deep in Pirate territory. Also the Pirates forced two big interceptions from QB Scott Schaffer . He finished 10 of 28 for 168 yards and two interceptions with 12 carries for 41 yards as well. Junior running back Ty Rollin had 17 carries for 82 yards on the ground with one touchdown. While junior DB Hayden Huber had 13 tackles.
As for Harbor Beach they capture the State title with big performances from the defense that was led by Aaron Gither who had 12 tackles. But his effort on offense and special teams also propelled the Pirates as he had 3 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown to go with a 76 yard punt return. While QB Eli Craft went 8 of 13 for 168 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also had 15 carries for 78 yards rushing. He was helped by their work horse Derek Pfaff who got the hard yards inside wearing down the Aggies defense. He carried the ball 15 times for 68 yards.
"The defense played really well they saved our bacon today, coach Schelke mentioned. "The defense has improved so much and they saved are butt today. Are offense did enough and did its part and the defense really came up big so did special teams."