Saline Comes Up Short Against Top-Ranked Belleville

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The Saline football team gave the number-one ranked Belleville Tigers all they could handle Friday night, but in the end, it wasn’t enough as the Hornet’s season ended with a 62-44 loss in the D1 district finals.

The Hornets shouldn’t hang their heads after the loss as nobody outside of the Saline area gave the Hornets a shot, but they hung with the Tigers through three quarters before Belleville pulled away for the win.

In the end, the lack of a running game which has been an issue with the Hornets all season was a big problem as they could not control the ball and keep the high-powered Tigers offense off the field.

The teams traded scores in the opening quarter with Belleville scoring three times, but the Hornets answered with TD passes from CJ Carr to Garrett Baldwin for 39-yards and Tate Bezeau for six-yards to make it 21-14 after one quarter.

Baldwin ran one in from eight yards out to start the second to tie it a 21, but the Tigers answered for a 28-21 lead with just over five minutes left in the half.

Saline drove downfield in the final minutes, but a strip fumble turned the ball over and Belleville got the ball back with a minute left.

The Hornets got the ball back when Bezeau sacked the Tigers quarterback, and the fumble was recovered by Sullivan Mills at the Tigers 13. On the first play, Carr hit Roman Laurio for a 13-yard score and the game was tied at 28 at halftime.

The Saline offense stalled in the third and was forced to punt twice and the Tigers capitalized with a pair of scores to take a 40-28 lead after three.

The Hornets opened the fourth with a 28-yard field goal by Riley Behrman to cut the lead to 40-31, but the Tigers responded with another quick score to take a 48-31 lead.

Carr hit Caid Fox with a 30-yard scoring strike to cut the lead to 48-38, but the Tigers scored less than a minute late to make it 56-38.

The hornets did not quit, and Carr hit Fox once again from eight yards out to make it 56-44, but the Tigers finished the scoring with a touchdown with five seconds left to make the final 62-44.

Carr had a monster night for the Hornets, completing 37 of 53 passes for 383 yards and five TD’s.

Baldwin caught nine passes for 138 yards and a score, while Fox caught nine for 130 and two TD’s. Laurio made 11 catches for 83 yards and a score, Dylan Mesman five for 19 yards, James Rush two for seven, and Bezeau one for six and a score.

Mills led the defense with 5.5 tackles, while Baldwin, Cade Tousa, and Rush had five each.

Saline finished the season with an 8-3 overall record.

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