FOOTBALL: Our Lady of the Lakes cruises past Seminary to advance to Final Four

| November 14, 2015 | Comments (0)



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WATERFORD — It was a little more than two years ago when Josh Sawicki took over the Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes football program. At that time, the rookie head coach saw something in his sophomore class at the time that could end up being “special.”

That group, now seniors, has lived up to that bill.

The Lakers advanced to their first Division 8 Final Four since 2006 Saturday, as Our Lady of the Lakes pounded Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary, 32-6, in the D-8 regional finals at WOLL’s Backyard Stadium.

Top-ranked Our Lady of the Lakes never trailed and chalked up 439 yards of total offense while limiting No. 5 SMLS to only 197 yards of total offense.

Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary (10-2) rarely threatened the Lakers, who led 25-6 at the half.

“As coaches, we talk about the Xs and Os and who to stop and who to block, but we don’t spend a lot of time talking about the battle,” said Sawicki. “I thought we battled out there today. We played hard and I thought it was the best all-around game we’ve played all year.”

Senior quarterback Clay Senerius led Our Lady of the Lakes’ vaunted attack, finishing a crisp 19-for-25 passing for 297 yards and four touchdown passes.

Twin brother Devin Senerius had 144 receiving yards on nine catches and senior Ryan Kostich had 107 receiving yards on six catches. Senior Chris Cartier (54 rushing yards) and junior Isaac Oliver (75 rushing yards) led the Lakers’ ground assault.

WOLL (12-0) lost in the regional finals to Harbor Beach in 2012 and was knocked out of the postseason in the district finals the past two years under Sawicki. The Lakers, now 52-24 all-time in postseason games dating back to 1982, advanced to their 14th Final Four but first under Sawicki and first since 2006.

Our Lady of the Lakes, which has now outscored the opposition 506-90 this season, scored points on their first five drives of the first half.

Senior Jack Bono put WOLL up for good when he hauled in a 22-yard dart from Clay Senerius with 9:09 still left in the opening frame.

Devin Senerius added a 26-yard field goal, Kostich caught a 6-yard heave from Clay Senerius while he was wide open down the middle of the field, and the Senerius brother combination hooked up again for a 51-yard TD connection for a 22-0 lead with 9:28 still left in the second quarter.

Devin Senerius later booted a 27-yard field goal for the 19-point lead at the half.

“Clay was fantastic today and so was our offensive line,” said Sawicki, who played on the school’s stet championship team back in 2002. “They deserve so much credit for the points we’ve been able to put up this year. We jumped right out on them. We were able to move the football from the beginning.”

Michigan Lutheran Seminary could only muster a 30-yard TD run by junior Casey Williams with 7:01 left in the second quarter, but the two-point conversion pass failed. That cut the deficit to 22-6.

The Cardinals turned the ball over twice via interception and watched the Lakers even recover an on-side kick in the second half. Cade Kestner was limited to 9-for-19 passing for 90 yards for Michigan Lutheran Seminary, while Williams rushed for 62 yards on eight carries.

MLS moved the ball inside the Lakers’ 25 on three occasions in the fourth quarter, including down to WOLL’s five yard line as time expired.

“I’m still very proud of this senior group. They had three great years where they only lost a combined four games the past two years,” reminded MLS coach Karl Schmugge. “We ran into a very good team today. But that’s the way it goes. I think this group of seniors put us back on the map and had us contending for titles again.”

WOLL added a final touchdown drive on its first series of the third quarter, this time with Clay Senerius finding Devin Senerius on an 11-yard scoring toss down the middle.

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