It wasn’t pretty but it sure was beautiful for the visiting Chargers to grind out a 12-9 win against Pontiac Notre Dame Prep to earn a Regional Championship. Running back Donovan Franklin bulled into the end zone on a determined, 9-yard run at the 5:40 mark of the fourth quarter to erase a 9-6 Irish lead. Ben McCartney intercepted a pass in the ensuing ND drive and from there, Powers essentially ran out the clock for the win.
Franklin scored on a one-yard plunge with only 39 seconds remaining in the first half for a 6-0 lead. The touchdown was set up by a 39-yard Marcus Groves to Nevaeh Sanders completion. Groves steadied the Chargers through nearly half the game as QB Luke Phillpotts battled a nagging injury throughout much of the contest. Despite losing Phillpotts for an extended period, the Chargers kept their poise and never flinched.
Sanders, who finished with 91 receiving yards, recorded three sacks from his defensive end position, and consistently harrassed the ND Prep quarterback, as he and his teammates worked hard to disrupt the timing of the Irish passing attack, a focal point for a team averaging 41 points per game. ND’s points came on a third quarter touchdown and safety. Linebackers Ben Weishuhn, Cooper Willey, and Hollister Fechik were top tacklers for Powers and Joe Parillo netted 8 tackles to spearhead an active defensive line. Logan Murray recovered a fumble. Mason Leubke delivered two clutch kickoffs to put the Irish in poor field postion.
It was an amazing, clutch effort from the Chargers this week: snow-stormed out of practice on Monday; then, forced inside for the next three workouts due to 8 inches of snow and mini-Polar Vortex frigis temperatures. They were not to be denied. And, the loyal fans that traveled to Pontiac certainly buoyed Charger spirits with loud playoff roars that rang through the sub-freezing air. Way to go.
Next, Powers, 10-2 overall, will travel to Howell’s Parker Junior High for a neutral site game against Detroit Country Day in the MHSAA Football Semi-finals on Saturday, November 23rd at 1 p.m. A trip to Ford Field will be on the line.
With a sixth come-from-behind win in the books, the journey continues for TEAM 50. Everyone is invited to come along for the ride! Ride on, you mighty Chargers!