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Elite Eight - Top Eight Performances from the Football Semifinals

Football   | Jeff Dullack

State Champs! Sports Network

The Top Eight Performances from the Football Semifinals

8. Markus Sanders, Canton RB
Even in a loss to Cass Tech, Sanders was unstoppable on Saturday afternoon. The junior running back rushed for 304 yards and four touchdowns on 40 carries as he would go over 2,500 rushing yards for the season for Canton. Keep an eye on Sanders in the 2016 Mr. Football race.

7. Clay Senerius, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes QB
Senerius and the WOLL offense has been difficult to stop all season long and even the blizzard-like conditions couldn’t slow down Senerius as the senior signal caller completed 13-of-17 passing for 225 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Lakers to their first state championship game since 2002, when Lakes won their only state title.

6. Aaron Jackson, Cass Tech QB
Making his first start at quarterback for the Technicians in place of an injured Rodney Hall, Jackson stepped up in a big way as the sophomore quarterback completed 4-of-5 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns through the air, as well as another rushing touchdown. Even more impressively, Jackson led the Technicians to touchdowns on seven of their eight possessions.

5. Antoine Burgess, River Rouge QB
In tough weather conditions at Novi, Burggess stepped up throwing the ball for the Panthers on in the Division 5 semifinal against Ida, throwing for 217 yards and three touchdowns on 8-of-12 passing to lead River Rouge to its first ever Football championship game appearance. 

4. Gaetano Vallone, Grand Rapids West Catholic QB
After Travis Russell helped lead West Catholic to three Division 5 state title games before graduating, Vallone has stepped in and stepped up for the Falcons all season long and Saturday was no exception. The sophomore quarterback accounted for four touchdowns, two passing and two rushing to help lead West Catholic to Ford Field for a fourth consecutive year.

3. Jake Smith, Ithaca QB
Smith was a man on a mission on Saturday afternoon as the Ithaca quarterback rushed for 141 yards and two scores and threw for 179 yards and two more touchdowns to lead the Yellow Jackets to their sixth consecutive Division 6 state Championship game in a 28-19 win over Traverse City St. Francis

2. Jared Smith, Pewamo-Westphalia RB
Smith has had a record-breaking 2015 season, and on Saturday, he wasn’t ready for the season to come to an end as the running back carried PW to its first Division 7 state championship game since 2011 as he rushed for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Smith now has 52 touchdowns on the year and is the first running back in MHSAA history to rush for over 3,000 yards in a season.

1. Ryan Stevens, Lowell QB
Stevens put together a monstrous performance on Saturday afternoon as the senior quarterback accounted for six of Lowell’s seven touchdowns on the day to lead Lowell to its first Division 2 state championship game since 2011. Stevens finished the game with 188 yards passing and three touchdowns through the air and added another 77 yards and three scores on the ground.