After two consecutive upsets on the road, seven-seed Caledonia traveled to Mona Shores to take on the defending state champion Sailors in Friday night's district final.
Mona Shores would own the opening quarter, jumping out to an early 14-0 lead just eight minutes into the game after a touchdown run by Elijah Farnum and a 70-yard score by senior quarterback Brady Rose.
Mona Shores 14, Caledonia 0— FOX 17 Blitz (@FOX17Blitz) November 14, 2020
end of first quarter pic.twitter.com/1yaLvyEeKo
However, the Scots would answer after freshman Brock Townsend scored from 15 yards out before the Sailors' Elijah Johnson answered that with a touchdown run of his own to make it 21-7.
At the end of the opening half, senior workhorse Carson VanderHoff would score on a one-yard for Caledonia to make it 21-13 after the extra point was blocked. Just over a minute later, the Scots would tie the game on a 25-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Mason McKenzie to Luke Mandsager. The score would be knotted, 21-21 at the half.
Caledonia 21, Mona Shores 21— FOX 17 Blitz (@FOX17Blitz) November 14, 2020
In the third quarter, defenses would step up but Mona Shores' Elijah Johnson would score the lone touchdown to give the Sailors a 28-21 lead after three quarters.
Once again, the Scots would answer as McKenzie found Nicholas Fox on a nine-yard touchdown score to tie the game up 28-28 with 9:17 left.
Mason McKenzie hits Nicolas Fox on a 9-yard TD pass— FOX 17 Blitz (@FOX17Blitz) November 14, 2020
Caledonia 28, Mona Shores 28
9:17 | 4th Quarter pic.twitter.com/k1MvNYlcCE
Brady Rose would then put the Sailors back in front after finding Elijah Farnum on a 62-yard touchdown pass, Farnum's second score of the game to make it 35-28 before Carson VanderHoff would tie it once again at 35 after a 44-yard touchdown run for Caledonia.
Brady Rose hits Elijah Farnum on a 62-yard TD pass— FOX 17 Blitz (@FOX17Blitz) November 14, 2020
Mona Shores 35, Caledonia 28
8:58 | 4th Quarter pic.twitter.com/mBJGPZfWlB
However, with 1:22 left, Brady Rose would score on a 13-yard touchdown scamper to give Mona Shores a 43-35 lead after the two-point conversion before the Sailors defense forced an interception to seal the win in the final minute.
Brady Rose 13-yard TD run— FOX 17 Blitz (@FOX17Blitz) November 14, 2020
Mona Shores 43, Caledonia 35
1:22 | 4th Quarter pic.twitter.com/tqKGsdGoAL
As expected, senior leader and Mr. Football candidate Brady Rose led the way for the Sailors with 13 carries for 115 yards, two touchdowns while also going 7-of-10 passing for 138 yards and a touchdown. Not only that, but Rose would add 16 tackles defensively as well.
"We don't want to lose, our seniors drive until the game is over," Rose said after the 43-35 win.
Mona Shores 43, Caledonia 35 Final— FOX 17 Blitz (@FOX17Blitz) November 14, 2020
The Sailors (9-0) advance to play at East Lansing next week pic.twitter.com/jCS48KYGgk
While Caledonia entered the game with a 4-4 record, Mona Shores head coach Matt Koziak knew that was deceiving.
"Tonight, our kids were amazing, that's a good football team we just beat, their record is very misleading," Koziak said, "our kids just found a way when it was time to get it done."
After the loss, it is also Caledonia head coach Tom Burrill's last game as head coach of the Scots after announcing he would be retiring at the end of this season.
"It'll hit me later," Burrill said after the game, "I really feel for our seniors, they wanted to keep going, we really thought we had a chance tonight and we did, but give Mona all the credit."
VanderHoff would lead the Scots once again with 45 carries for 240 yards and two touchdowns after a 343 yard performance in last week's 55-38 win over Lowell.
For the unbeaten Sailors, they advance to face East Lansing in next week's regional championship as the state title defense continues.