Bo Bell is his worst critic.
His dad is his second-worst critic.
When asked what his dad would say about his performance in the Division 6 championship victory against Maple City Glen Lake Friday at Ford Field, Bell said: “He’s proud of me. He’s tough on me.”
The senior running back for Jackson Lumen Christi carried the Titans’ offense in the second half of its 26-14 victory.
He lugged the ball 40 times for 238 yards. While fullback Kyle Minder scored most of the touchdowns (three), coach Herb Brogan finally let his star back get one in the second half. The Titans dominated the game with 298 rushing yards to the Lakers’ 4.
“I have to thank my offensive line,” Bell said. “They take a lot more hits than me. I have to thank them and Kyle Minder. He takes as many hits as me.”
It’s not the first time Bell had 40 carries in a game.
“In back-to-back weeks against Marshall and Coldwater in big games for us he had 40 and 39,” Brogan said. “He’s used to carrying the load. He takes the punishment.”
Asked if he was in pain after lugging the ball 40 times, Bell replied: “A little bit.”
The pain was put on the back burner because there was a championship trophy to hoist.
“I’ve worked for this all summer long, all year long,” Bell said. “Last year was tough. Finishing like this makes all the hard work worth it.”
■Defensive battle: Both Grand Rapids Catholic Central and Birmingham Country Day offenses were totally offensive and set records for futility Friday night in the Cougars 10-7 victory at Ford Field.
The CC defense registered 11 sacks: two each by Derek Saukas, Max Vicari, Eric Grabow and Davie Sayfie, and one each by Andrew Vernum, Daniel Harmon and Aidan Burns.
Saukas led the unit with 13 tackles.
The combined 173 yards of total offense set a state championship game low.
“All year we’ve been harping on playing tremendous defense, getting after the quarterback,” said Jalen Mayfield, who had a key fumble recovery in the victory. Our defensive line is one of the best in the state. It was just unbelievable what we were able to achieve all season.
“The only thing that matter was we came out on top on the scoreboard. If we had 1 yard and we had more points than them we’d take it.”
That was close.
Grand Rapids had just 60 yards of offense.
“I think our defense is as good as anybody’s,” said CC coach Todd Kolster. “I think our kids play extremely hard. Our coaching staff does an outstanding job. It’s something we believe very strong in. You have to play great defense to win. The proof’s in the pudding tonight.’’
Country Day’s quarterbacks combined to complete 12 of 20 passes for 105 yards passing but were under duress all night.
“Our defense has been a fantastic group,” said Country Day coach Dan MacLean. “(On offense) I don’t know what was happening. I’d have to see the film. It wasn’t anything good. I can tell you that. We had a little movement in the third, but obviously not enough to win the game.”
■Slow start: The Titans started the season 1-2 and things didn’t look good. A small senior class of 13 mixed in with a bunch of first-timers on the varsity made it challenging for Brogan.
“We were struggling but we didn’t give up,” Brogan said. “We were young and playing West Catholic and Harper Creek; good football teams. We embarrassed ourselves against West Catholic. We played a competitive game against Harper Creek.
“Coming out of that game I told the coaches I wasn’t down because we really competed hard against a good football team. We’re going to get better. The next two weeks we pulled out critical games. The guys liked each other. Sometimes players don’t like each other. These kids really liked each other. It’s difficult sometimes when you have a small senior class.”
■Solid in defeat: Maple City Glen Lake quarterback Cade Peterson was solid in a losing effort, completing 15 of 20 passes for 254 yards and two scores. It was the first time the Lakers made the final in 20 years.
“We had a couple of bad-weather games, but we knew Cade was capable of this kind of performance,” coach Gerald Angers said.
“We missed some assignments and made a couple of mistakes. The last three weeks we’ve had to rely on the run game because of the weather. Blizzard last week and 40 m.p.h. winds the week before at Calumet.
“(Cade’s) by far the best quarterback I’ve ever been associated with.”