A young Saline football team came of age Friday night as the Hornets shut down two-time defending Division 4 state champion Grand Rapids Catholic Central 17-7.
GRCC entered the game with a 21-game winning streak, the longest in the state.
Saline was also without starting quarterback Andrew Arbaugh due to an injury, so the Hornets used a quarterback by committee system with JV quarterbacks Anthony Ferrari and Larry Robison, and MJ Griffin taking snaps in the Wildcat formation.
Saline opened the game by driving into GRCC territory, but the drive stalled, and they turned it over on downs.
The Hornets forced a punt and took over at midfield. They drove inside the 20-yard line but fumbled to turn the ball over once again.
GRCC then put together a nice 90-yard drive and scored on a touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.
On its next possession, Saline was forced to punt and GRCC drove to the Hornet 15 and looked like they were ready to take control of the game, but Adonis Gammo shifted the momentum busting through and making a 16-yard tackle for a loss. The defense held, and the score remained 7-0.
Saline then fumbled for the second time near midfield but again the defense held tight forcing a punt to the Hornet 23-yard line.
On second down, Griffin broke through the line and sprinted 77 yards for a score to tie the game at 7-7. It would stay that way until halftime.
Connor Terech picked off a third-down pass on GRCC’s opening drive of the second half and the Hornets capitalized and took a 14-7 lead on a seven-yard scoring run by Brendan Munday.
Following another GRCC punt, the Hornets added to their lead with a 19-yard field goal by JT Turner for a 17-7 lead entering the fourth.
Saline looked to put the game away but fumbled for the third time on the night inside the GRCC five-yard line.
GRCC drove 96 yards to the Hornet one-yard line with under a minute to play, but the Hornets defense came up big one more time as GRCC was stopped on fourth and one at the goal line.
Ferrari finished 13 of 17 passing for 146 yards, while Robison completed his one pass for 14 yards.
Griffin ran the one time for the 77-yard touchdown, while Munday finished with 76 yards on 17 carries and a score. Kolton Malinczak caught five passes for 68 yards, Griffin four for 47, and Brendan Murphy three for 40.
Jonah Ashby had a big game on defense with 11 solo tackles and a sack. Monty Green had eight solo and one assist, Jordan Harris six solo, Gammo and Brad Wisniewski three solo, two assists, and one and a half sacks each.