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Detroit Catholic Central beats Dearborn on final play of the game

The Shamrocks won a back-and-forth affair over the Pioneers

The Detroit Catholic Central Shamrocks (7-2) advanced to the MSHAA region three district finals, defeating the Dearborn Pioneers (7-3) 26-21 in a matchup that came down to the final goal-line play.

This game was the first time these programs have ever played. What transpired showcased a first-half offensive explosion followed by a second-half defensive standstill.

Before that final moment, both teams displayed brilliant football, but for different reasons.

The Pioneers dominated the game with time management, using a majority of the first quarter by rushing the ball downfield for two hard-pressing touchdowns.

The Shamrocks found opportunities, such as forcing an early second-quarter safety.

“We’ve been winning games like this, it seems like all year.” Shamrock head coach Dan Anderson said. “We got a lot of stuff we need to work on, and we have to keep moving forward.”

Here are three takeaways from the game

Defense wins championships

The first half of this game was a score-fest. The Pioneers found success through the ground, determined to run the ball no matter the situation. They scored 21 points in quick succession during the first half.

However, during the second half, this matchup took a dramatic shift in action. While the Pioneers scored three touchdowns during the first half, they didn’t score for the remainder of the game. The Shamrock’s defense found a way to negate the Pioneer offense and come away with a victory to move to the next round in the playoffs.

Equal Battle

Through the majority of this game, this matchup was an equal battle. The Pioneers had a methodical offense, only attempting three passes during the entirety of the first quarter.

The Shamrocks displayed a talent for making big plays in the grandest moments.

Both teams had large portions of the game where they controlled the tempo and played their specific brand of football. This led to several lead changes, frustration from both teams and costly errors such as a holding penalty that negated a 50-yard Shamrock punt return.

The Shamrocks Will Be A Tough Matchup For Anyone.

The Shamrocks displayed a level of talent that could see them make a deep playoff run. Their passing game was consistent and their defense came up big when needed. While they made errors throughout the game, this did not truly impact the outcome.

The Shamrocks talent, depth, and high-level coaching could spell trouble for their next opponents.

Coach said:

When discussing the final play, coach Anderson insists he just reminded his team to do their job.

“I just told them to play defense and do their job.” Anderson said. “When they run their fake option, you have to be aware and do your job.”

Following this matchup, The Shamrocks will take on the Northville Mustangs in the District finals. Coach Anderson says he’s taking this upcoming matchup with a new approach.

“We have to watch the film. We have to figure out what mistakes we’re making, but next week is a new opponent.” Anderson said. “We have to watch this film, correct what we can,and look at who we’re playing next.”