Portland St. Patrick erased a 22-0 first-half deficit, but fell just short of a trip to the state championship game with a 36-30 double-overtime loss to Deckerville in the 8-player football semifinals on Saturday.
The Shamrocks ended their 2012 campaign with a record of 11-1 in their first year of playing the 8-man game, after winning a total of five games in the past three seasons.
Senior quarterback Collin Lay completed 19 of 33 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns. He ran for 77 yards and another TD in his last football game as a Shamrock.
“You can be upset, but if you look back, we had a great season,” Lay said. “We fell a little bit short of our ultimate goal, but we really had a great season. It was a lot of fun.”
St. Pats turned the ball over on its first two possessions, the second of which, a tipped pass that was intercepted by Christopher Wolfe, set Deckerville (11-1) up at the Shamrock 24-yard line. Five plays later, Wolfe plunged in from a yard out to give the Eagles a 6-0 lead with 5:45 left in the first quarter.
Corey Wagester scored the next two touchdowns for Deckerville, a 9-yard reception from Nick Pagel in the last seconds of the first quarter and a 27-yard run with 8:47 left in the second to put St. Pats behind 22-0, its largest deficit this season.
The Shamrocks narrowed the gap just before halftime, driving 73 yards in the final 1:01 of the second quarter, capped off by a 7-yard touchdown pass from Lay to Danny Beachnau that made the score 22-6 at the break.
“We just had to make our plays,” St. Pats coach Pat Russman said. “The plays were there in the first half, we didn’t capitalize on them. We really didn’t change much of anything we did, we just made the plays in the second half that we left out there in the first half.”
St. Pats stepped up on defense in the third quarter, holding Deckerville to three-and-out on their first three possessions of the second half.
And the offense responded as well.
First, Lay ran in from 37 yards out with 4:19 left in the third quarter, and then found Kyle Schrauben for the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 22-14. Lay then tied the score with a 2-yard scoring pass to Beachnau and another two-point strike to Schrauben.
The game remained tied 22-22 at the end of regulation.
Deckerville scored on its first possession of overtime on a 2-yard run and a two-point run, both by Wolfe. St. Pats then answered with a 9-yard pass and a two-point pass, both from Lay to Schrauben, to send the game to a second OT.
The Shamrocks failed to score in the top half of the second OT, leaving the door open for Deckerville. Wagester then won the game and sent Deckerville to the state championship with a 5-yard run.
“I’m very pleased with the effort, especially the seniors, with the way they led the team,” Russman said. “They paid their dues, and this is their reward for the work they’ve put in and sticking with it. They made it pretty exciting around here.”