Lansing Catholic Central discovered that in football, it’s not easy to beat the same team twice, regardless of how badly you beat them the first time.
That was the case in the 56-26 loss to Powers Catholic in the Division 5 state championship game on November 26 at Ford Field.
Powers began the season losing its first two games by a combined score of 92-31.
One of those losses was to Nouvel Catholic Central, the Division 7 king, 55-14. The other was 37-17 to Lansing Catholic Central, which was 13-0 going into the state championship game.
Powers’ record was 2-4 at one point, and it had to win its last three games to get a nonautomatic bid to qualify for the playoffs.
The Cougars outscored their opponents 537-209 coming into the title game. But in the championship, Powers was the top scorer, tying Nouvel Catholic Central for the most points scored in a title game.
The Cougars seemed to have things right in line when they opened the the game with a 7-yard pass from quarterback Cooper Rush to offensive end Mack Macksood. However, Powers then had three uncontested scores to take control of the game.
Rush was 26 of 41 for 291 yards in the passing department.
“It hurts right now a little bit,” he said. “We were pretty successful. The season was pretty special.”
A year ago, Lansing Catholic Central went 9-0 during the regular season.
“As a group, we were a close group of guys,” Rush said.
A 48-0 win against Williamston was among the highlights for the Cougars, who also sneaked past defending state champion Grand Rapids West Catholic 42-35 in the semifinals.
“Our best game definitely was Williamston,” Rush said. “I think we performed to the best of our abilities this season.”
Lansing Catholic Central defeated Powers 37-17 the second week of the regular season. But at the state finals, Powers would prove that while in basketball, it’s tough to beat a team three times, in football it’s difficult to do it twice.
“Definitely, they were a much better football team this time,” Rush said. “But we felt we were, too.”
Rush will be playing football at Central Michigan University, but he’s not done yet with high school sports. He’ll be playing basketball this winter.
Looking back at his senior season in football, Rush is confident he was a better player.
“At the next level, I’ll try to get faster and stronger,” he said. “The biggest thing is to get better.”