When Muskegon Mona Shores committed a chop block in the fourth quarter, the resulting penalty yardage gave Warren De La Salle a real chance to get back into the game, down 13-7. The 15-yards lost put Mona Shores in a dangerous spot, needing 19 yards for a 1st down and leading by just 6.
They turned to their leader, senior quarterback Brady Rose, and he delivered.
Rose did what he did best all game; he kept the ball himself and ripping off a 65-yard run, breaking tackles along the way and dragging defenders into the red zone. The run set up Keondre Pierce for a touchdown run to put the game away; the Muskegon Mona Shores Sailors (12-0) defeated the Warren De La Salle Pilots (7-5), 25-19, to complete an undefeated season and win their second straight Division 2 Football State Championship.
Mona Shores used a dominant run game to keep the ball moving on offense and score on critical possessions. Rose was the leader, finishing with 154 yards and 2 touchdowns on 22 carries. Junior running back Elijah Johnson also came up huge for Mona Shores. He carried the ball 14 times for 76 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Keondre Pierce also added 36 yards and another TD.
Rose stars in his final game at Mona Shores, leads a dominant offense
Brady Rose has had a lot to prove in his time at Mona Shores. Leading his team to a state championship just last year, the 5-foot 7-inch quarterback has been the focus of defenses all year long, but that did not seem to slow him or his team.
Rose capped another successful season with his second straight state title to go along with his individual accolades. Rose is a finalist for the 2020 Michigan Mr. Football award and was named the player of the year by M Live. Following graduation, Rose will continue his football career at Ferris State University.
With 303 yards on offense, Mona Shores found ways to move the ball using their option offense. Rose and his teammates did a great job selling all the fakes and running with authority, especially on critical 3rd and 4th down conversions.
Providing in all three phases, Rose stood out on every play. On defense, he made 8 tackles to help his own cause. On special teams, he blocked an extra point and recovered the onside kick to seal the game.
When asked about his legacy at Mona Shores, Rose said he hopes it will be bigger than football.
“It is being a great friend, a great teammate, a great person in the classroom,” said Rose, “and having these guys beside me for my last senior game. I probably wouldn’t want anyone else around me.”
De La Salle keeps with season theme; fighting hard
Taking over a new program amid a pandemic, head coach Dan Rohn was put in a very tough position. He and his team had to implement their new schemes and get ready to play a tough schedule. Mona Shores head coach Matt Koziak praised Coach Rohn after the game.
“He came into a new program as head coach trying to install his system with no time,” Koziak said, “They started 2-4, and then they make a run in the playoffs, and I’m not surprised.”
Playing in the Catholic League, De La Salle had a long way to get to the final game. They finished the regular season with only 2 wins in 6 hard-fought games against top opponents in the state. Using that experience, they fought their way all the way to Ford Field, cruising through their first four postseason opponents with double-digit wins. They upended Oak Park by 6 points to reach the Championship game.
Having that battle-tested season behind them, De La Salle would not go away easy in this one. Following a first-half filled with offensive struggles, they switched to quarterback, senior JC Ford starting the second half. The change quickly sparked life into the offense as they capped a 6 play, 62-yard drive with a Ford touchdown run to cut the lead to 6. The change in quarterback and change in tempo to a no-huddle look gave De La Salle newfound momentum.
“My role with this team was just to lead,” said Ford after the game, “going it at halftime, we just couldn’t quit. We had to come back fighting.”
Rose and Mona Shores were able to recapture it with the 65-yard run and resulting score, but Ford responded with his own 52-yard touchdown run to bring the score within 6 again.
In a single possession game yet again, De La Salle was able to get the ball back with a chance to tie or take the lead late; they failed to convert a fourth-down opportunity. Mona Shores would take the ball and score again to push the lead to 12 to seal the game.
Ford finished with 107 yards on 15 carries, all in the second half.