The Lawton Blue Devils made the trek up to Muskegon on Friday for a date with Muskegon Catholic Central. In our preview article, we discussed the difference in pedigree amongst these programs, but the strength of the Lawton ground game. That rushing attack was key for the Blue Devils, as they surprised many with their 41-22 victory over Muskegon Catholic Central, a game that was much further than the final score indicates.
On their opening drive of the night, Lawton scored. Landon Motter took to the air, connecting on a 33-yard pass to Jake Rueff. After getting a stop, the Blue Devils had another big offense play in store. Running the football in their trademark “T”, Rueff shot through the middle of the Crusaders’ defense, racing past the eleven potential tacklers for a 66-yard score.
As the first quarter came to an end, the Crusaders did get on the scoreboard. On a fourth down in the red zone, Elliot Riegler aired it out, pairing up with Dane Rutz on a 19-yard pass that was hauled in despite some contact from a pursuing Blue Devil. This brought the Crusaders within eight, 14-6, after the opening frame.
The second quarter saw limited offense, with just one scoring play. It was another explosive run, as Rueff raced past the defenders on a 54-yard touchdown carry. His 46th rushing touchdown of the season gave the Blue Devils a 20-6 halftime lead.
Midway through the third quarter, the lead continued to grow. Motter used his legs on a 5-yard keeper, giving Lawton a three-touchdown advantage. As the quarter drew to an end, Motter found the end zone again. This was a 6-yard carry that left Lawton in complete control, ahead 34-6 with twelve minutes remaining.
Muskegon Catholic Central finally snapped the lengthy scoring drought, taking advantage of a coverage lapse. The same combination as the first score, Rutz and Riegler, were the culprits on this 55-yard pass. Lawton would respond with a 19-yard strike from Motter to Chase Mitchell, the team’s leading target throughout the season. This was the sixth receiving touchdown from Motter. Riegler would round out the scoring with a third touchdown pass, this time to David Hill.
Elliot Riegler completed 14/23 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 11 carries for 22 yards. Joe Waller led MCC in rushing with 43 yards. Dane Rutz had 8 catches for 161 yards and two scores. Sam Kartes anchored the defense with 12 tackles.
Lawton rushed for 395 yards as a team in this victory. Jake Rueff led the way with 224 yards and two scores on just 13 carries. Landon Motter added 68 yards on 10 carries. Motter completed just 2/5 passes, but they both went for scores.
Next week, Lawton will be in their first-ever State Semifinal. They will take on the winner of Detroit Loyola and Jackson Lumen Christi, who square off in their Regional Championship on Saturday at 1:00. The neutral site location for this game will be determined at a later date.