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November 18, 2013

Mott football team loses heartbreaker to Detroit Cass Tech in district final

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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The Warren Mott football team won its first division title since 2009. Pictured is Marauders senior running back Will Sills during a regular-season win over Utica High.

DETROIT — The Warren Mott football team did a lot of good things in its 2013 Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 district final against Detroit Cass Tech Nov. 9 at Cass Tech.

The Marauders tallied 19 points, which was the most the Technicians had given up in 2013 at press time.

With a 7-6 lead at the break, Mott also became the first team to hold a lead on Cass Tech — the two-time defending MHSAA D-1 state champions — at halftime.

The Marauders couldn’t become the first team to beat the Technicians, though, falling 28-19 in the Nov. 9 D-1 district final.

Special teams was key in the contest, with two plays essentially being the difference in the game.

The Technicians (11-0) could not move the ball in the first half but got a blocked punt from senior defensive back Antone Price to put the ball at the Mott 5-yard line with about six minutes left in the first half to set up a 5-yard touchdown run by junior running back Mike Weber with 5:29 to play in the half to give the Technicians a 6-0 lead.

Aside from that possession, Cass Tech, which advanced to take on Macomb Dakota (11-0) in a regional final played after press time, had four three-and-outs and only two first downs in the half.

Mott (10-1, champions of the Macomb Area Conference White Division) took a 7-6 lead into the locker room after junior quarterback Connor Madigan worked  with senior wide receiver Angelo Proulx for a 6-yard score with 2:20 to play. Mott recorded 11 first downs and had no three-and-outs in the first half.

Cass Tech used its running game to take control in the second half, scoring touchdowns on its first two possessions — one on a 10-yard pass from junior quarterback Jayru Campbell to senior wide receiver Chris McDaniel with 8:26 to play in the third, and another on a 1-yard plunge from senior running back Gary Hosey with 2:12 to play in the third. That score gave the Technicians a 20-7 lead.

“We had to make some adjustments and get the line to execute its blocking schemes,” Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher said. “The key thing is the team bounced back. We had to control the line of scrimmage. Our team always shows up in the second half.”

Mott refused to lay down, though, and answered Hosey’s score with a 1-yard touchdown run from senior quarterback Austin Ross to make it 20-13 with 10:28 to play in the contest.

On the ensuing kickoff, Weber returned the kick 88 yards for a score, and the subsequent 2-point conversion put the Technicians up 28-13 with 10:14 to play.

Mott added a late score when Ross threw to senior tight end Ken Goins for a 2-yard touchdown with 58.4 seconds left to make it 28-19. The Marauders found new life after they recovered an onside kick, but an interception by Cass Tech junior linebacker Keyshawn Gilmore with 51.4 seconds left sealed the victory for the defending champs. The interception was Gilmore’s second of the day.

“Too many mistakes. You can’t give up pretty much 14 points on special teams,” Mott coach Tom Milanov said. “If we don’t have the blocked punt and give up the kick return for a touchdown, then we’re right in it. We played a good football team.”

Wilcher commended Mott’s play after the contest, calling the Marauders fast and quick.

The Marauders made their seventh playoff appearance in eight years and downed Dearborn Fordson 14-0 Nov. 1 to reach the district final.

“We left a lot out there,” Milanov said. “We should have put up more, but should of, would of, could of.”

“I’m extremely proud of these guys,” Milanov added. “There were a couple times in the end we could have folded, but we didn’t. … Our kids battled.”

For more coverage of the 2013 MHSAA state football playoffs, check www.mhsaa.com.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.