Call it the “Miracle on 13 Mile”.
The Maples defeated Groves 22-15 on Friday, winning in stunning fashion, coming back from a 15-0 halftime deficit.
The game changed on a clutch fourth quarter defensive play by senior linebacker Dan Simon.
With less than three minutes remaining in the fourth Groves held a slim 15-14 lead and appeared poised to add six more.
But on a Groves touchdown attempt from the Maples’ one, Simon singlehandedly saved the day, forcing a turnover and taking it 99 yards the other way for what would become the game-winning score.
“The guy was leaning into the end zone,” Simon said. “I came in and stripped it and just started running.”
The win was electrifying for the team.
“Beating Groves was obviously a great feeling; I thought our team showed great character,” senior wide receiver Tyler Scott said.
With the win, the Maples clinched the OAA blue conference title outright, and earned the right to host playoff game. The Maples will host Oxford this Friday at Maple Field, at 7 p.m.
“Winning the OAA was important to our team, the seniors set out goals before the season, and that was one of them,” Scott said. “Now we have a home playoff game for the first time in 11 years, and that is a huge deal.”
They’ll look to take this momentum into the playoffs.
“Now we have to capitalize and keep the season going. We believe as a team that we can make a run and that starts Monday at practice,” Scott said.
Seaholm 49, Hazel Park 32
Seaholm clinched at least a share of the OAA blue on Friday, defeating Hazel Park 49-32. The Maples move to 7-1 on the season (6-0) in the OAA Blue.
“The offense played really well, we scored a lot of points,” senior slot receiver Matt Brown said.
Hazel Park’s defense contains outside runs well, and the Maples thought they could use the pass to score points.
“We wanted to attack the middle because they left their two safeties out wide,” senior wide out Jake Martin said.
Senior tailback Tim List played a key role in the win, leading the team with 128 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
“Tim could basically run where ever he wanted, the offensive line played well,” Brown said.
The offensive line has been a huge reason for the Maples’ success this season, especially the last two games.
“The offensive line has been carrying this team the last two weeks, I’ve only been sacked once,” senior quarterback Stephen Guenther said.
Guenther also ran for two scores, and threw a third quarter 43 yard touchdown to Jake Martin on the biggest play of the game.
“We had been setting up the play the whole 1st half, the safety bit on the play action, and it was wide open,” Martin said.
Seaholm 35, Lahser 33
The 2012 Seaholm Football squad has been primarily known as a defensive football team with a power running game that will grind you out. That changed on October 5th, with the offense putting up a season high 35 points, 21 of which, came through the air in their 35-33 win against Lahser.
It was the last ever home game for Lahser because next year, Lahser will combine with Andover to form one football team.
“We knew Lahser would be tough to beat because it was their last home game, and it obviously felt awesome to win the last ever game being played at Lahser,” senior slot receiver Matt Brown said.
It was a cold, rainy, Friday night with temperatures in the 40s, but that didn’t stop the Maples’ offense.
“Offensively we were looking to throw the ball a little bit more because of what Lahser was doing with some of their coverages,” head coach Jim DeWald said.
A huge reason the maples offense was able to succeed was due to senior quarterback Stephen Guenther’s breakout game.
“We saw on film that we could expose their linebackers in the pass game,” Guenther said.
Guenther went onto score four touchdowns, three in the air, and one on the ground.
“Stephen threw four verticals very well, he was able to manipulate the Lahser free safety, and dictate where he was going to throw the ball,” DeWald said
The offensive line was a huge contributing factor, not allowing a single sack throughout the game.
“The offensive line gave me time all night, I didn’t get sacked,” Guenther said.
Despite the defense giving up 33 points, the team was satisfied with the win.
“It was nice to carry the defense, they’ve been the rock all year, and it was great to return the favor,” Guenther said.
The Maples played championship caliber football, executing their offensive game plan to perfection.
“We played very well, and we played an inspired football game,” Matt Brown said.