Harper Woods Pioneers halt Martians state title hopes

By David Fleet
Livonia — A bid to return to the state finals for the Goodrich Martians Varsity Football team fell short on Saturday as the Harper Woods Pioneers defeated the Martians 35-21 in the Division 4 state semi-final game at Franklin High School.
The Martians were up 14-0 in the second quarter, the Pioneers rallied with 28 points pulling ahead 28-21 with just 7:47 left in the third quarter. It will be the Pioneers first trip ever to the state championships at Ford Field to take on the Grand Rapids South Christian Sailors. (9-3)
“We had a great year, it’s hard to lose,” said Head Coach Tom Alward. “We made enough mistakes to give them 28 points. I’m proud of our kids, they stepped up for the game. Credit to Harper Woods they are the most talented team at every position I’ve ever coached against. We were up to the task, we had our chances but could not take advantage.”
The Martians turned the ball over three times, while the Pioneers two times. The Martians had seven penalties for 70 yards, the Pioneers committed five for 47 yards.
“We kept the ball on the ground, and if you’re moving the ball there’s no need to pass,” he said. “We made mistakes and it was the difference in the ball game. Our effort was extreme and special. It’s hard to take when you’re the better team.”
The Pioneers (10-3) rolled up 351 yards of offense to 242 yards for the Martians. While the Martians out-gained the Pioneers on the ground 212 yards to 180 yards, the passing game fell short 30 yards to 171 yards. The Pioneers held on the ball and tallied 68 plays to 54 for the Martians.
GHS Jr. #25 Chase Burnett led all rushers with 25 attempts for 180 yards and two touchdowns, GHS Soph. #24 Jakoby Lagat had four attempts for 18 yards with one touchdown and GHS Sr. #2 Easton Phipps rushed for 17 yards on 10 carries. For Harper Woods, #12 S. Buford attempted eight passes and completed 13 for 166 yards and three touchdowns and HWHS #2 C. Bailey rushed for 52 yards on 12 attempts and one touchdown.
On defense, Phipps had eight tackles, Burnett six, GHS Jr. #55 Ben Sennabaum six and GHS Jr. #33 Luke Francis six.

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