DETROIT — It’s all about trophy placement.
Jackson Lumen Christi put its state championship hardware proudly on the table during postgame interviews. Traverse City St. Francis set its runner-up award on the floor after the game at Ford Field in Detroit.
The Michigan-shaped trophies for first and second place in the state are identical in size and shape. The only difference in one says “champion” and the other “runner-up.”
Lumen Christi scored two unanswered fourth-quarter touchdowns to come back from a 12-0 deficit and win the Division 7 state football championship, 15-12, over St. Francis in the only title matchup between two private schools among the eight 11-player divisions.
“Everyone says they remember their high school football days and you know I think that will remain true with this group,” St. Francis senior linebacker Joey Donahue said. “It’s a really close group of guys, and close with the coaches. We all just want to remember this and be thankful that we had the opportunity.”
Lumen Christi’s current streak of qualifying for the playoffs 24 years in a row is the third-longest stretch in state history. St. Francis’ run of 22 years from 1990-2011 is tied for fifth. St. Francis’ 35 playoff appearances is fourth-most in state history, while the Titans’ total of 31 sits at ninth.
“Football is the best sport on the planet,” St. Francis senior tight end Drew Hardy said. “The memories I have with these guys will never go away. So I’m just thankful that we got this far and proud of these guys.”
The Titans have won 12 state championships in 15 trips to the finals, including 10 crowns in 43 years under head coach Herb Brogan.
“We played the toughest schedule we’ve ever played in our program’s history — from the regular season into the playoffs — and got some quality wins over some quality opponents,” St. Francis head coach Josh Sellers said. “But the biggest part of the season, of course, is going to be losing this large group of seniors. We’ve had a lot of big shoes to fill for sure next year.”