Prep football: Swain leads Cougars to third straight title

Prep football: Swain leads Cougars to third straight title

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Prep football: Swain leads Cougars to third straight title

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PORTLAND

Jack Swain saved the game of his life for the biggest game of the year.

Swain, a senior, scored four touchdowns and intercepted two passes as Lansing Catholic captured its third straight CAAC White football championship with a 41- 32 road win over Portland.

“This is the best game I’ve ever played,” Swain said.

With 258 yards of offense, Swain’s day was one of the most impressive his head coach can remember.

“That would be hard to top,” Lansing Catholic coach Jim Ahern said. “He had an outstanding game for us, and I’m really proud of the effort he had.”

Swain broke a scoreless tie with a 55-yard run on an option play to put Lansing Catholic (6-1, 5-0) up 7-0 with 7:33 remaining in the first quarter.

Three minutes later, Swain found the end zone again. He turned a 5-yard pass from senior quarterback Brock Rucinski into a 47-yard touchdown by breaking two tackles en route to giving Lansing Catholic a 14-0 lead.

After Portland (6-1, 4-1) and Lansing Catholic exchanged touchdowns, Swain was at it again.

Swain had both carries on a two-play, 88-yard drive, taking the second one 68 yards up the middle to put the Cougars ahead 28-6 with 3:08 remaining in the first half.

Following a 39-yard touchdown run by Portland junior Jacob Kimmell, Swain capped off his explosive half with a 2-yard run for a 35-12 halftime lead.

After the first 24 minutes, Swain had 208 yards and four touchdowns on eight touches.

Dominating play on both sides of the ball in the third quarter helped the Raiders cut the lead to 35-26.

While Lansing Catholic was held to just eight offensive plays in the quarter, Portland scored two touchdowns, including a 51-yard touchdown run by Kimmell.

“It was really just our kids settling down,” said Portland head coach John Novara. “We rebounded and didn’t make as many mistakes in the second half.”

But once the game moved to the fourth quarter, the momentum shifted back to the Cougars.

A 3-yard touchdown run by Rucinski pushed the score to 41-26 with 10:28 remaining in the game.

Then Swain made his presence felt on the defensive end. The defensive back intercepted two passes in the final quarter from Portland junior Tanner Allison to seal the game.

With Friday’s win, all three of the Raiders’ losses during the past two seasons have come at the hands of Lansing Catholic.

The Cougars, meanwhile, have wrapped up another CAAC White title.

“Our goal every year is to win the league, and everything after that is just gravy,” Ahern said. “I’m really proud what they’ve been able to accomplish the last three years.”

But there is still unfinished business for the Cougars. A year after falling to Flint Powers Catholic in the Division 5 state championship, there is only one thing left on the team’s mind.

“We want to make a deep run in the playoffs to avenge last season’s playoff loss,” Swain said.

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