In Play with Tom Markowski

St. Mary's lacks crispness offensively, still handles Loyola 24-12

Football   | Tom Markowski

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Detroit – It probably wasn’t what most expected but Orchard Lake St. Mary’s did win its opener, and to coach George Porritt that is what mattered most.

Justin Myrick rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns to lead top-ranked St. Mary’s to a 24-12 victory over Detroit Loyola at Wayne State.

The first of three Prep Kickoff Classic games on Saturday, it matched the defending Division 3 champion (St. Mary’s) against the defending Division 7 champ.

The Eaglets were inconsistent on offense. Their run game was fine. Fullback Pierce Bauer had 93 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries but there were some miscues in the passing game. Quarterback Brendan Tabone did not have one of his better games. He was 5-for-15 passing for 57 yards and one interception.

Kahlee Hamler, one of the state’s top juniors, had four receptions for 52 yards but otherwise was a non-factor.

St. Mary’s was also assessed five holding penalties that contributed to a lack of flow offensively.

“I thought (Loyola) did a good job of going in and out on us,” Porritt said. “It’s nice to get a W against a good team. (Tabone’s) throws were difficult throws. They weren’t catchable. (Penalties) are just things we have to get better at.”

Defensively St. Mary’s was as advertised. The Eaglets held Loyola to 187 yards with 80 coming on one play. Nicholas Lee threw a fine deep pass to Blaine Woodland down the right sideline and Woodland raced untouched for the touchdown and the final points of the game with 5:03 left.

 “It seemed like we were slow (offensively),” Myrick said. “We we’re tired. It was just a little early (11 a.m. start). We’ll be fine. We always have a run game. Our offensive line blocked well.”

Myrick had 16 carries for 73 yards in the first half and his 11-yard touchdown run gave St. Mary’s a 7-0 lead after its first drive.

Loyola’s defense set up its lone score of the half as Price Watkins returned an interception 66 yards to the St. Mary’s 7-yard line. On the next play Joshua Stewart ran through the middle of the line for a touchdown but the kick was wide and Loyola trailed 7-6 with 10:41 left in the half.

St. Mary’s went 52 yards in 11 plays to score on its next series. Myrick carried six times on the drive for 33 yards including the last six for his second touchdown and the Eaglets led 14-6 with 5:24 left.

St. Mary’s wasted a scoring opportunity on its last series of the half as Loyola stopped a fourth down play on its 7-yard line with 13 seconds left.

St. Mary’s took a 21-6 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter when Bauer ran nine yards for a touchdown to finish a 69-yard drive.

John Kwiecinski added a 42-yard field goal to give the Eaglets a 24-6 lead with 5:14 remaining.

Loyola lost most of its starters from last year’s team and coach John Callahan said it had its effects.

“When you lose that many starters on offense, you’re going to struggle,” he said. “We had chances in this game. We let them slip away. They’re a great team but we left them off the hook. We had a good plan defensively. We needed to help them out offensively. I was proud of the way the kids stepped up. We had kids playing their first varsity game and they learned.”