Good teams figure out how to win.
Muskegon Catholic football did that in its down-to-the-wire battle against defending Division 8 state champion Centreville on Friday.
With the Crusaders’ backs against the wall, tied 16-16 and just six seconds remaining, receiver Sam Convertini lifted himself in the endzone over Centreville defenders to complete an Elliot Riegler pass for a 26-yard touchdown and a 24-16 MCC victory.
Chase Willer completed one of his three ultra-important 2-poin conversions to cap off the giant play for MCC.
“We knew we’d have a tough time running the ball, so we had to incorporate some more passes.” said Muskegon Catholic Coach Steve Czerwon about his team’s final play to seal the win.
MCC built a 16-0 lead after three quarters off a balanced running and passing game.
Joe Waller helped the Crusaders a 8-0 first-quarter lead on a 3-yard scamper that was capped off by a Chase Willer 2-point conversion.
David Hill gave MCC a 14-0 lead on a 28-yard TD catch from Riegler. Willer again came through on special teams with the 2-point conversion for a 16-0 third quarter lead.
Centreville stormed back in the fourth quarter with a pair of scoring drives capped off by TD runs from Mason Lemings.
Riegler finished 6 of 10 passing for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns for Muskegon Catholic. He also ran for 44 yards on nine carries. Waller finished with 35 yards rushing on nine attempts.
Defensively, MCC was highlighted by a pair of first-half stops that kept the defending champs in check.
Jaden Johnson forced a huge tackle for a loss and a turnover on downs that set up MCC for its first score. Johnson finished with six tackles.
The Crusaders also came through with a key goal line stance that stopped Centreville from finding the board just before halftime.
“We held their offense in check,” said Czerwon about his team’s powerful defensive stops against a potent Centreville offense. “We knew they scored a lot of points.”
Sam Kartes led the Crusaders in tackles with 10 tackles and Zach Michaels added five.
Muskegon Catholic (7-1) will finish its regular season with a classic Week-9 matchup with Oakridge (7-1).
Check out photos shot by LSJ photographer Tim Reilly.