The Martin Clippers battled Mendon in the seventh week of the regular season. Martin was able to emerge victorious, 28-20, to capture the SWMFL-I title. On Friday night, more hardware was on the line. The Regional Championship, and a spot in the semifinals, were on the line at Delton Kellogg, where the Clippers hosted this contest. Martin’s offense was able to match their output from a week ago, capturing a 41-22 win over Mendon to get back to the semifinals for the second straight year.
In the first half, offense was at a premium. Martin was able to find the end zone just once in each quarter, creating a 14-0 advantage. In the opening frame, it was JR Hildebrand using his legs on a 2-yard keeper. Just seconds into the second stanza, Hildebrand found Karter Ribble on a 36-yard touchdown strike.
Martin ran their lead up to 21 points midway through the third, when Hildebrand connected with Sam Jager on a 16-yard touchdown. Mendon would finally find the end zone, as Chris Dupree and Gabe Haigh paired up on a 73-yard strike. Martin would close out the quarter with a third passing score from Hildebrand, a 43-yard pass to Charley Martin.
Trailing 28-8, Mendon started the fourth quarter with some offense. Once again, the duo of Dupree and Haigh linked up, this time a 21-yard touchdown. This started an exchange of scores, with each time finding the end zone on two occasions over the final twelve minutes. Martin’s Taegan Harris reeled off a 50-yard sprint, his third touchdown of 2021. On the ensuing kickoff, Chris Dupree fielded the kickoff and raced to the end zone on a 65-yard return. Finally, JR Hildebrand rushed for a 15-yard touchdown.
Martin outgained Mendon 485-253 in this game, with the Clippers winning the ground battle 259-143. JR Hildebrand finished with 169 yards on the ground, carrying the football 26 times. Hildebrand was 12/24 passing for 226 yards.
Mendon was led by Chris Dupree with 62 rushing yards. Dupree was 5/13 passing for 110 yards and one interception.
Next week, Martin will be back in the State Semifinals. Just as it was a year ago, the Clippers will square off against Adrian Lenawee Christian. The Cougars are a perfect 11-0 this year, and 22-0 all-time in 8-man football. The defending 8-man Division 1 State Champions advanced after topping Britton Deerfield 41-0 in the regional finals on Friday evening. This week’s State Semifinals will be hosted by Adrian Lenawee Christian.