MARQUETTE — Somewhere around Mackinaw City, perhaps when the Colon football team’s chartered bus hums across the Mackinac Bridge, it might sink in what the Magi were able to accomplish Saturday at Northern Michigan University’s Superior Dome.
In the end, it was superiority in the Michigan High School Athletic Association 8-Player Division 1 ranks as Colon outlasted Suttons Bay 26-14 for a state championship and a perfect season at 13-0.
It’s the first state football title for the program, which capped a dominant season and made the countless donations from folks in the community to fund the team’s trip, along with its fans, to Marquette mean even more.
A high-flying offense that was averaging 50.3 points per game leading up to Saturday’s contest, ran into a formidable Suttons Bay defense, which held the Magi to seven points in the first half in seven drives.
Brandon Crawford’s 24-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter, followed by Austin Stoll’s PAT kick was the first score of the game. Crawford caught a 37-yard pass from Phillip Alva earlier in the drive. The Magi looked to add to their lead on their next possession, but they turned the ball over on downs after moving 58 yards downfield.
The Norsemen answered with 8:26 to play in the second quarter with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Opie to Lucas Mikesell. However, the PAT was blocked and Colon would hold a 7-6 lead at the halftime break.
Though the Magi offense wasn’t operating at full speed, it got a boost from the defensive side as Crawford got his paws on a pass that barely left the hands of Opie as Suttons Bay was pinned deep in its own territory and the big junior ran the interception in for a score two minutes into the third quarter. Stoll’s kick gave the Magi a 14-6 cushion.
An Opie scramble from four yards out with just a couple minutes remaining in the third, followed by his 2-point conversion run, tied the game and clearly changed the momentum and the vibe inside the dome.
A long drive by Colon on the next possession resulted in a one-yard keeper touchdown by Phillip Alva. With a failed PAT, Colon needed to protect a six-point lead entering the fourth quarter. The Norsemen had a great opportunity to take their first lead of the game with a first-and-goal from the six-yard line, but the Colon defense stood its ground and benefitted from a false start penalty to end the drive on downs.
With Suttons Bay tiring, Crawford made them pay, breaking a tackle near the sideline on the next possession and sprinting 94 yards for Colon’s final touchdown with 7:36 to play. He finished the game with 205 rushing yards on 22 carries.
When it was all said and done, Colon racked up 422 yards of total offense and held Suttons Bay to 178. Alva completed 7 of 14 passing attempts for 82 yards and he added 65 rushing yards. Jonathan West rushed nine times for 35 yards, Kaleb Johnson ran three times for 17 yards, Brayden Ireland chipped in a carry for 10 yards and Austin Stoll finished with one run for eight yards.
Crawford’s three receptions for 42 yards led the squad, while West made two snags for 24 yards, Stoll had a catch for nine yards and Ireland had a reception for seven yards.
Crawford also led the team with 15 tackles (three for loss). Caiden Carver made nine stops (one for loss), as did Ian Eells (two for loss) and Justin Miller. Johnson finished with six tackles, Stoll made five stops and Robert Wickey had four. Kodey Dovey, West and Grayson Riethmi were all credited with three tackles. West recorded a remarkable three interceptions for the Magi. Finishing with one tackle each were Joshua West, Chris Frye and LaWayne Wickey.
Suttons Bay ended the year with a 12-1 record.
Video by Wes Morgan