Photo Credit: Lou Murray

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The Caledonia Fighting Scots were back in the Regional Finals for the first time since 2012, with a collision course set for the Traverse City Central Trojans, a team that reached the semifinals a year ago. Josh Burnham, a 4-star commit to Notre Dame, the quarterback of the Trojans, put on a show. He showed why he is not only the best player on the field Friday night, but amongst the tops in the State, powering Traverse City Central to a 42-14 victory.

After a three-and-out by Caledonia, Traverse City Central started with the football. On their opening drive of the game, the Trojans jumped out to a lead. Burnham used his legs for a 25-yard touchdown run, just the start of a memorable evening for the senior.

Caledonia responded with a march downfield, getting down to the 25-yard line. On their first snap in the red zone, they committed a costly error, as Carson Bourdo stepped in front of a pass and recorded an interception. This was the first of two stunning plays by Bourdo, as he took the next handoff and raced 75 yards to the end zone. The Trojans were ahead 14-0 after the opening frame.

The Fighting Scots got the football back, and once again coughed it up. This time, a fumble changed the possession in favor of the Trojans. Josh Burnham completed a pass to get them down to the goal line, before powering his way into the end zone.

Caledonia responded with a drive that reached the Trojans’ thirty, but they failed to convert a fourth down. It was not for naught, as just a few plays later saw Traverse City’s first mistake. Owen Graham scooped up the fumble and scored from 30 yards out, putting the Fighting Scots on the scoreboard, down 21-7.

Traverse City Central would not let this mistake deter their momentum, immediately seizing it back. On the ensuing kickoff, Carson Bourdo fielded the ball and dashed past the coverage team for an 80-yard score. Another quarterback keeper by Burnham, a 5-yard keeper, gave the Trojans a 35-7 lead at the break.

After halftime, the Trojans started with the football. They coughed it up, allowing Caledonia a glimmer of hope. That was quickly snatched away, as the Fighting Scots turned it over on downs. Neither team would score throughout the third quarter, leaving Traverse City Central ahead by 28 with 12 minutes to play.

On the first play of the final frame, the Caledonia offense provided their first score of the evening. Mason McKenzie found Nick Fox on a 24-yard toss that trimmed the lead to three scores. Burnham would round out the scoring with a 22-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.

Traverse City Central outgained Caledonia 361-188 in this contest. The Trojans rushed for 331 yards on 6.9 yards per carry. Josh Burnham had a bulk of that offense with 29 carries for 215 yards. Carson Bourdo added 87 yards on just four carries. Caledonia was led by Brock Townsend with 66 rushing yards on 18 carries. Mason McKenzie was 6/20 passing for 81 yards, and he rushed 13 times for 41 yards.

Next week, Traverse City Central will be in the semifinals for the second straight season. They will square off with South Lyon, who was able to hold off Portage Central in overtime on Friday evening. The Trojans will be looking to get back to the State Championship game for the fifth time in program history, and the first since 1988.