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Blitz Rewind: 2002 Lowell

Red Arrows win first football title
Posted at 10:59 PM, Nov 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-27 22:59:44-05
Blitz Rewind: 2002 Lowell

Lowell has won three state championships in football and been to the championship game six times.

Before 2002 though, the Red Arrows had never played for a state title in football.

"They were believing in something that nobody could believe in because it hadn't happened," former Lowell head coach Noel Dean said. "Aside from wrestling winning the state title the winter before, Lowell hadn't won a state title in any sport."

The program had been building toward that moment in 2002 led by record-setting senior quarterback Mark Catlin.

It was a comment from one of head coach Noel Dean's sons that helped fuel Catlin's desire for a championship.

"I think the year before, maybe a couple years, Jenison had just won a state title," Catlin said. "Maybe one of his (Noel Dean) sons or something said 'hey, when are we going to win one?'"

"I think we were all kind of asking our self that, right?" Noel Dean added.

"That statement drove me to want to push hard," Catlin added. "Then it all kind of went down from there."

After an eight and one regular season, Lowell won playoff games against East Lansing, Adrian, Hudsonville and Davison to advance to the Pontiac Silvedome and the division two state championship game to play state power Birmingham Brother Rice.

"We weren't going to get caught up in all of that," Dean said. "Because playing at the Silverdome, playing for a state title, first time ever, nowhere in any of those statements or thoughts is there anything about what we have to do to beat Brother Rice."

Catlin put on a show!

He ran for three touchdowns and returned an interception for another score.

He became the first player in state finals history to go over 400 all-purpose yards.

"The game was a blur," Catlin recalled. "I remember we started, we won and everything in between was do you realize what just happened? No. It's almost like you say being in the zone I guess."

Lowell won, 31-14 to earn its first state championship in program history.

"Once we realized what we did," linebacker and offensive tackle Jordan Moore said. "Just looking at each other and just the sense of accomplishment."

It was the start of a great run for a program that went on to win titles in 2004 and 2009 as well.

"I remember coach Dean telling me that I hadn't realized what we had done and that in twenty years it would mean a lot more to me," Catlin said. "Ironic, we are getting near that point and he is absolutely right."

"It is so hard to believe in something that you can't see or touch right?" Dean added. "So that is why 2002 is so special."