CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The Forest Hills Central football team must have been feeling the effects of the frigid temperatures Friday night.
It took the Rangers a little time to warm up.
After a sluggish opening quarter in which FHC was held scoreless, it came alive in the next 12 minutes to help end a lengthy program drought.
The Rangers used a 21-point second quarter to catapult them to a 28-10 home win over Traverse City Central and a Division 2 regional championship.
FHC remained unbeaten at 11-0 and earned its first regional crown since 1995.
“The first quarter was a little rocky, but it is the playoffs and you are going to face a good team every week now,” Rangers coach Tim Rogers said. “Hats off to TC Central because they did a great job there at the beginning of the game and they made us go back to work. We really had to do some things different from the first quarter on in and we righted the ship.”
FHC trailed 3-0 after the Trojans nailed a 28-yard field goal in the first quarter, but started to gain momentum in the second quarter after a big play.
Senior quarterback Luke Majick connected with junior Tate Hallock on a 58-yard touchdown pass and it was 7-3.
After Traverse City Central fumbled on a botched hook-and-ladder, Majick capitalized off the turnover and scored from 1-yard out to extend the lead to 14-3.
“It wasn’t what we expected at the beginning and we had to go back to the drawing board a little bit but it turned out alright,” Rogers said. “We figured out a way to get the ball in the end zone a few times to give us some breathing room.”
Senior Kade Shomin helped give the Rangers even more cushion before the half with a key play on the other side of the ball.
Shomin picked off Trojans’ quarterback Tobin Schwannecke and returned it 52 yards for a defensive score that put FHC ahead 21-3 at halftime.
“Our defensive line put great pressure on the ball so I took advantage of it and went up and got the ball and took it to the house,” Shomin said. “We work great as a unit on defense. Our secondary doesn’t allow many balls to be caught, our defensive line gets pressure and our linebackers are amazing.”
“We were great tonight, and there is nothing like this feeling. Last year we lost in the regional finals and to get it this year is unreal.”
The Rangers extended their advantage to 28-3 in the third quarter as Majick scored on a 2-yard run.
FHC’s defense did the rest, and was a main factor in extending its season for another week.
“If you can get good players to play fast then you are going to have a good defense,” Rogers said. “I have good players and that is what they are doing. They are playing fast and confident and they played well today.”
The Rangers will face Livonia Franklin in next week’s Division 2 state semifinals at a site yet to be determined.
Livonia Franklin defeated Flushing 31-29.
Rogers said the regional title was a culmination of work ethic and dedication over the past six years while he has been at the helm.
“I wish I could bring back all those seniors because it’s been a lot of hard by a lot of people,” he said. “Former players, former parents and this community. We’ve stuck together for six years and it’s finally come to fruition.”