Photo courtesy of Louis Murray

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On Friday night, the Cougars of Catholic Central hit the road in the playoffs as they faced Wyoming Kelloggsville in the district finals. In an offensive shootout, they prevailed winners, 45-34.

The Cougars started the game out strong with a trio of touchdowns, all by star running back Nolan Fugate. The first score came in the air as Bowen hit Fugate on a 31-yard pass. Four minutes later, Fugate ran fifteen yards for a touchdown to expand the lead to fourteen points. Just twelve seconds into the second quarter of action, Fugate took a handoff thirty yards for a touchdown to give the Cougars a 21-0 lead.

In the final three minutes of the second quarter, the tides turned for Kelloggsville, and a huge momentum shift occurred. Thomas Griggs started the scoring as he rushed four yards for a touchdown. Jaevian Willis broke through the Cougars’ defense for the second touchdown, and the two-point try brought the Rockets within six. With thirty-two seconds until halftime, Deontae Dixon found himself on the right end of a passing touchdown to put Kelloggsville in front by a point, 22-21.

The Rockets’ run would extend to twenty-eight unanswered points as Alex Guzman kept it for three yards to give the Rockets a seven-point edge. In desperate need of an answer, Catholic Central went to the best running back in West Michigan, as Nolan Fugate scored on a 42 yard pass to tie the game up at 28.

Just fifteen seconds into the final quarter, Fugate scored for the fifth time, a 20 yard run, and the Cougars took the lead back for the first time since late in the second quarter. Alec Winden connected on an impressive 42-yard field goal and Catholic led by ten.

Kelloggsville would draw back within a score as Cyrie Thomas found his way into the endzone to bring the Rockets within four. This would be short lived as Catholic Central went back to Fugate, and his sixth touchdown of the day was the dagger. With the win, Catholic Central improves to 11-0 on the season, extending their winning streak to sixteen games, and they will play Belding at home in next week’s regional finals.