By MIKE ECKERT
TRAVERSE CITY — Muskegon Catholic scored two fourth quarter touchdowns on Saturday to hand St. Francis a 21-13 loss at Thirlby Field.
The loss eliminated the Gladiators (4-5) from playoff contention for the first time since 1989, ending the longest playoff streak in Michigan.
Muskegon Catholic qualifies for the playoffs at 6-3 and will await its first round opponent during today's selection show.
After a 7-7 tie at the half, St. Francis came out fired up and forced the Crusaders into a three-and-out on their first possession. From there, the Gladiators drove 76 yards on 18 plays, eating up nearly 9 minutes of game clock and scored on a 4-yard run from Adam Armour for a 13-7 lead.
Muskegon Catholic put together a drive early in the fourth quarter and capped it with a 5-yard TD run from Jessie Anderson for a 14-13 lead.
St. Francis couldn't pick up a first down on its next possession and Muskegon Catholic put the finishing touches on the game with a sneak from quarterback Zach Campbell with 2:23 left and a 21-13 lead.
In the first half, Jake Khoury scored from short yardage on the first Gladiator possession for a 7-0 lead. Late in the second quarter, Cari Campbell scored for the Crusaders on a 68-yard interception return.
Armour ran 15 times for 63 yards, Byron Bullough had 13 carries for 40 yards and Khoury ran 12 times for 37 yards. Austin Currie was 5-for-10 passing for 88 yards.
On defense, Armour had seven tackles while Michael Marsh and Bullough each had 4.5.
St. Francis won the JV game 27-7. Jake Klingelsmith, Joe Trucco, Tristan Boomer and Jimmy Smith all had touchdowns for the Glads. Ryan Armour, Trucco, Smith and Boomer led the defense for St. Francis (6-3).