Detroit Loyola’s Jason Hardy (3) races down field for the game-winning touchdown against Detroit Central on Friday.
Detroit Loyola rallied to earn a hard-fought 18-12 victory over No. 9-ranked Detroit Central on Friday, Nov. 5, at Central’s Woodrow Thomas Stadium, to win the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 7 District 56 football championship. But don’t call it an upset.
Detroit Public School League Gold Division champion Central came into the game undefeated at 10-0, and had not allowed an opponent to score since Sept. 24, and had only allowed 35 points all season.
Loyola made the playoffs with a 4-4 record, a reward for playing a daunting schedule against much larger schools. Its losses came against four playoff teams (Division 4’s Pontiac Notre Dame Preparatory, Division 3’s Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Preparatory, Division 2’s University of Detroit Jesuit, and Division 4’s Detroit Country Day)
On Friday, the Bulldogs scored on their opening drive, as Khamari Wright rushed for a six-yard touchdown with 8:36 left in the first quarter. The point after kick failed to put Loyola up 6-0.
Central took the lead with 2:02 left in the first as David Williams tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jamar Owens and the kick was good to put Central up 7-6.
Both defenses held as neither team scored in the second or third quarters.
Loyola took back the lead with 10:30 left in the fourth quarter as Kendrick Britt returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown. The point after kick failed to give Loyola a 12-7 lead.
Central answered with 5:28 as Williams tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Owens to put Central back up 14-12.
Backed up at the 10-yard line, Loyola quarterback Anthony Garrett found Jason Hardy wide open and he raced down field for a 90-yard touchdown with 2:59 left for the winning margin.
Central beat Detroit Community 12-0 in the district semifinals last week. Loyola dominated No. 10-ranked Madison Heights Bishop Foley 48-8 in its district semifinal.
Loyola (6-4) advances to the regional final against No. 3-ranked Jackson Lumen Christi (10-1) next week. Lumen Christi beat No. 5-ranked Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 21-12 on Friday.
Detroit Loyola’s Kendrick Britt (15) makes and interception against Detroit Central on Friday. He would score a touchdown on the play.
Detroit Loyola's Kendrick Britt (15) kicks an extra point against Dearborn Divine Child on Saturday.
Detroit Loyola’s Khamari Wright (23) runs for a touchdown against Detroit Central on Friday.