WALTON — With freezing conditions on the field with a little bit of ice forming on the grass at Owens Memorial Field, neither the conditions or the LaVille Lancers could stop the Lewis Cass Kings from making big play after big play.
The No. 1-ranked Kings drubbed the No. 12 Lancers 56-21 on Friday night to win the Class 2A Sectional 34 championship.
It was the Kings’ eighth sectional title in football and first since 2012.
The Lancers (9-3) got off to a good start they needed. They forced Cass (11-1) into a three-and-out on the Kings’ first possession and then opened up the playbook during an 11-play, 70-yard march down the field. Nathan Watts capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown run to give LaVille the early lead.
The Lancers then forced another three-and-out and another punt. But Caden Zeck came to the rescue, interception a pass and returning it 10 yards for a score to get the Kings back on track.
That started an avalanche of big plays for the Kings, who didn’t punt again after their first two possessions.
Zeck again showed off his speed with a 26-yard TD run. His 2-point conversion run made it a 16-7 game. In fact the Kings converted all seven of their conversion attempts on the night for 2 points, adding another touchdown worth of scores to their seven touchdowns.
Eric Bird got his hand on a punt attempt for a partially blocked punt. Then it was Gabe Eurit’s chance to show off his speed, racing for a 34-yard TD run to make it 24-7.
The Lancers quickly answered. Ayden Doyle’s 49-yard pass to Connor Manges set up Doyle’s one-yard TD run that made it a 24-14 game.
But it was time for Easton Good to show off his athleticism, as he zigged and zagged his way across the field and showed off his speed as well during a highlight-reel 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
The Lancers attempted a 49-yard field goal on their next possession, but Nathaniel Moss blocked it and Zeck picked it up and returned it down to the eight-yard line. Eurit scored from four yards out to make it 40-14.
The Kings had another chance to add on to their lead before halftime but they were out of timeouts and time was quickly running off the clock when they faced fourth-and-goal from the two-yard line. They barely got a play off and it was not very organized and quarterback Isaac Chambers threw his first interception of the season to end the half. But it was a good time to get it out of the way as the Kings led by 26 at the break.
The Lancers again had a good start to the second half. They got a stop by stuffing a fourth-and-2 play on the seven-yard line. Soon after Doyle hit Manges for a 70-yard touchdown pass to make it 40-21.
But Cass answered right back when Chambers hit Zeck for a 47-yard TD pass. Chambers later dropped the ball in perfectly to Joey Humphrey into the end zone from 28 yards out to make it 56-21 and a running clock was implemented with 11:54 remaining.
Chambers finished 14 of 16 passing for 217 yards and the two scores. Eurit rushed for 106 yards on 16 carries and 2 TDs and also had four 2-point conversion runs. Zeck put up 151 yards of scrimmage — nine carries for 76 yards and six catches for 75 yards — and 3 total TDs to go with three 2-point conversion runs. Humphrey had four catches for 70 yards and a TD and Good had three catches for 54 yards and a TD.
Doyle had 213 yards passing and a TD but it took him 25 attempts with 12 completions. LaVille was held to 60 yards rushing on 22 attempts on the night (2.7 per attempt).
Cass travels to Andrean next week to play for a regional championship. The Fighting 59ers (9-3) are unranked but are a two-time state champion. It’s a rematch from the classic 2012 regional game Andrean won 67-66 in five overtimes at Cass.