By Robert Mytych
It was going to take something more than rain showers, cold wind gusts and an effort from last year’s Division 1 finalist West Bloomfield to deny the Tigers from setting yet another high school record.
Belleville dug deep in the final quarter and pulled out a 13-10 victory over the Lakers on Nov. 9 at Belleville High School.
The victory improved the Tigers to 12-0 and put them into the state semifinals this Saturday, Nov. 17, against Chippewa Valley (also 12-0) at Troy Athens High School, beginning at 1 p.m. The winner advances to the state finals Thanksgiving weekend at Ford Field against the winner of Saline vs. Clarkston.
Following a scoreless first quarter, the Lakers cashed in on a field goal in the second, and led 3-0 at the half. Belleville did put up a pair of touchdown passes in the first half, only to have them called back on penalties. A fumble in the red zone also resulted in no points from the offense on their next threat. The Lakers opened the second half with a 60-yard scoring drive, which gave them a 10-0 lead.
On fourth down and ten, and five minutes left in the third, Belleville’s Deon Selma dashed for 28 yards and a first down, leading to a Jalen Hunt 3-yard hop to the endzone and Belleville’s first points of the game.
Trailing 10-6, the Tigers failed to convert on great field position on the ensuing possession, with Laker stops on a rush and an incomplete pass in the endzone from the nine-yard line. From there, Belleville built a little momentum resulting in a score and the lead on an 81-yard scoring drive, capped off by rushes of 33 and 16 yards, and a 3-yard touchdown run by Jalen Hunt with just under 4 minutes left in the game.
The Lakers came up short in their next possession, and a quarterback sack on fourth down with under two minutes remaining gave the ball back to the Tigers, who at midfield turned the ball away on downs trying to wind down the clock, which set up a final chance for the Lakers with 20 seconds remaining. From there, Belleville’s defense came through and a quarterback sack ended the game.
Deon Selma rushed for 142-yards on 29 carries while the team racked up 240 yards on the ground. Belleville quarterback Christian Dhue-Reid completed 3 of 16 for 53-yards, which included the two touchdown passes that were called back.
By Robert Mytych