Grand Rapids Catholic Central wins Division 4 state title

Football Frenzy

DETROIT, Mich. (WOOD) — Jake Passinault won’t soon forget his final high school football game in a Catholic Central uniform.

It was a memorable one for more than one reason.

The senior lineman scored his first touchdown ever and his team won a state championship in dominating fashion.

The Cougars routed Detroit Country Day 44-0 Friday night at Ford Field to win a Division 4 state championship.

Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.

Passinault had an 18-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter.

“It’s hard to describe,” Passinault said. “That’s my first touchdown ever, so that’s a pretty good time to have it — team, team, team. Coach has been preaching about it all season, and that’s what we were thinking about coming into this game. We didn’t expect this (score) at all. We thought they were a great team, but we came out and took it to them.”

The Cougars captured the program’s fifth state crown. They also won Division 4 titles in 2010 and back-to-back in 2016 and 2017, while winning their first in Class B in 1987.

  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.

“This means the world to our kids and it means the world to our community and high school,” said Catholic Central coach Todd Kolster. “It just speaks volumes to the character of the people we have in this high school and I’m just so happy for all of them.”

While the win wasn’t surprising for a perennial powerhouse that finished 13-1 overall and only lost to a team from Illinois, the final score certainly was.

Country Day came in unbeaten and boasting one of the top defenses in the state. The Yellowjackets had only allowed 67 points the entire season.

Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.

Catholic Central wasn’t fazed one bit and racked up 395 yards of total offense.

“We felt like we could go get them and attack,” Kolster said. “And if we attacked them, then we would have some opportunities, and we saw that tonight. We have good players and a lot of people don’t think we do. They think we are a bunch of average Joe’s, but I think they proved we have some pretty good players over here.”

Catholic Central junior wide receiver Jace Williams opened the scoring with two incredible touchdown catches in the corner of the end zone to put the Cougars up 12-0.

The passes went for 15 and 14, yards, respectively, on throws from sophomore quarterback Joe Silveri.

“I throw it up there knowing he’s going to go up and get it,” Silveri said.

Williams, who also hauled in a second-half touchdown, finished with four catches for 62 yards, while senior teammate Malachi Love led the Cougars with six catches for 90 yards.

 “It’s really special, and I did it for the seniors,” Williams said. “I love this team and it feels great, but I didn’t see this coming. I thought it would be a closer game, but I knew if we brought it physically, we would come out with a win.”

Grand Rapids Catholic Central's football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.
Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s football team wins the Division 4 state title at Ford Field in Detroit on Nov. 29, 2019.

The Cougars led 24-0 at halftime behind four touchdowns from Silveri. He passed for three and ran for another.

Silveri added another short rushing touchdown midway through the third quarter and the lead swelled to 32-0.

He finished the night by accounting for 379 yards and six touchdowns. He passed for 236 yards while rushing for 143 yards on 18 carries.

“This means everything to come out here and play the way we did,” Silveri said. “We prepared all week, and we believed we could get it done.”

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