In a State Semi-Finals re-match between Orchard Lake St. Mary and Battle Creek Harper Creek, the final result was the same as last year. OLSM moves on to the State Finals for the fourth straight year. This game was completely dominated by standout RB Grant Niemiec who scored three of the four OLSM touchdowns.
"It's great to have a one-two punch with me and Parker" said Niemiec after the game, "but don't underestimate our passing game. I think Matt Linehan is one of the best quarterbacks in the state, and we have some fantastic receivers. That's what makes us so hard to stop."
Niemiec opened the scoring by capping off a steady drive on the Eaglets first possession. The two teams went back and forth the rest of the half until Niemiec punched in his second of the day just before halftime, giving OLSM a 14-0 lead at the break.
The second half started with another strong drive by OLSM, lead by senior QB Matt Linehan who made important plays all day long when his team needed them. He capped off the first drive of the half with a perfect pass to Parker McInnis for a 15-yard TD that gave OLSM a 21-0 lead.
The OLSM defense held strong most of the second half, but Harper Creek put together a short-lived comeback in the 4th quarter when junior QB Trevor Johnson lead a terrific drive that ended with senior RB Kasey Carson running it in from the 1-yard line.
Harper Creek recovered the ensuing on-side kick, and had a chance to score again. The OLSM defense held strong, though, and Harper Creek turned it over on downs. OLSM was grinding out the clock when Niemiec bounced a run to the outside, and out-ran the defense for a 56-yard TD, his third of the day.
"Playing for a State Championship is one of the best experiences you can have as a high school football player" Coach George Porritt told his team after the game. "I'm very proud of this team because we are a true team. We've been talking about teamwork all season, and you could see that made a difference today. Our hats go off to Harper Creek. They are a great team, and I'm so proud of this team today."
OLSM will play in its fourth straight State Championship, but they have only won one of them. They will take on a Grand Rapids Christian team who scored 52 points against DeWitt to advance to the Finals. That game will be played at Ford Field on Saturday at 7:30 PM.