Close ? but not quite enough.
The Goodrich football team had already made history heading into their Nov. 15 regional final game at Erie-Mason, as this year’s team was the first in school history to win two playoff games in one season.
However, the undefeated Eagles proved to be just a little better, as junior quarterback Aaron Roelfs scored on a 10-yard run on the first play of overtime, leading the Eagles to a 26-20 win against the Martians.
Erie-Mason’s point-after attempt following Roelfs? touchdown was blocked, meaning Goodrich had one more chance to win the game. However, the Eagles? Kevin Laderach intercepted a pass by Goodrich senior quarterback Matt Hill at the goal line, as the Martians? dream season ended with a record of 8-4.
‘I told them after the game I was very proud of their efforts,? Goodrich coach Tom Alward said. ‘It was just heartbreaking that a couple of things could have gone our way. They need to hold their heads up high for what they accomplished not just in this game, but all year.?
Erie-Mason (12-0) advanced to the Division 5 semifinals Saturday, Nov. 22 at White Lake Lakeland, where they competed against Jackson Lumen Christi (10-2).
The Martians struck first in the contest, as senior running back Adam McAuliffe scored on a touchdown run 55 seconds into the game. However, Hill’s point-after attempt was wide, leaving the Martians with a 6-0 lead.
However, the Eagles answered with 6:32 left in the first quarter, as Roelfs found Kyle Upchurch for a 31-yard touchdown pass. Erie-Mason successfully converted the point-after attempt, giving them a 7-6 lead.
The Eagles tacked on another touchdown with 15 seconds left in the second quarter, as Eric Meiner scored on a one-yard touchdown run. Erie-Mason missed the point-after attempt, leaving them in front 13-6 at halftime.
The Martians scored the first points of the second half, as senior Jeff O’Mara scored on a four-yard touchdown run with 4:30 left in the third. Hill’s extra point tied the contest at 13.
Hill then put the Martians up front with 8:27 left in the fourth quarter, scoring on a seven-yard touchdown run and converting the extra point to put Goodrich up 20-13.
However, the Roelfs-to-Upchurch connection proved potent once again for the Eagles, as the two capped off an eight-play, 73-yard drive by hooking up on a 45-yard touchdown pass with 5:16 left in the fourth, tying the contest at 20 and setting up the Eagles? overtime heroics.
As a team, the Martians tallied 228 rushing yards on 53 attempts. The Eagles held Goodrich standout Kirk Elsworth in check, as the junior tailback gained 91 yards on 28 carries. McAuliffe added 78 yards on six carries.
Alward said despite the Eagles? attempts to stop Elsworth, other players on the team, such as Hill, McAuliffe, O’Mara and Adam Compeau, stepped up to make plays.
‘We battled them right to the end — they’re a good football team,? he said. ‘I’m so proud of our team — they’re an outstanding group of young men.?
The Martians will lose eight seniors to graduation — Hill, McAuliffe, O’Mara, Barrett Johnson, Jim Loftis, Chris Roelandt, Scott Hollingsworth and Lance Keene. Despite those losses, Alward said next year could be another good one for the Martians.
‘We’re very optimistic about next year,? he said. ‘We have holes to fill, but we’re hopeful some of the younger guys will step up to the challenge.?
Close ? but not quite enough.