MUSKEGON — If Traverse City St. Francis ends up getting into the football playoffs, it will go in limping.
The Gladiators (5-4) finished the regular season with a 42-0 loss to Muskegon Catholic Central on Friday, missing the chance to qualify automatically with six wins. St. Francis won’t find out if it is back in the postseason after a one-year absence until Sunday’s MHSAA selection show.
The Crusaders (7-2) won their seventh straight game behind a second quarter where they outscored the Gladiators 28-0 to go into the half with a 35-0 lead. Alex Lewandowski ran for three scores, and Nick Holt ran for two scores and passed for another. Catholic Central turned two St. Francis turnovers into points in the first half and never looked back.
Lewandowski scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter, then added scores from 10 yards in the second quarter and 32 yards in the fourth. Holt ran a touchdown in from 3 yards out to start Catholic Central’s second-half barrage. He added a 67-yard burst with two minutes to play in the half, then capped off a big first half with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Lamar Jordan with 18 seconds remaining. Holt had 106 yards rushing on nine carries and Lewandowski added 98 yards on 18 carries.
St. Francis, meanwhile, was stifled offensively all night long. The Gladiators didn’t muster a first down until late in the third quarter and could only generate 15 yards of total offense. Byron Bullough had 13 yards rushing on six carries. The loss was St. Francis’s worst defeat since Kingsley beat the Gladiators 56-13 in the 2000 playoffs.