Detroit Catholic Central held on to beat Hartland 21-15 in a first round playoff game Friday night. Jon Malone returned the opening kickoff 97 yards to give the Shamrocks a quick 7-0 lead.
Hartland started their first drive at their own 22 yard line. The Eagles had some opening game nerves as they had two false start penalties in the first series.
After a Shamrock interception by Kevin Walsh at the Hartland 34 yard line, the Eagle defense stood strong. Hartland held on fourth and five to get the ball back. Both defenses took over for the rest of the first period as Catholic Central had a 7-0 as the opening quarter ended.
Hartland got on the scoreboard at the 10:19 mark of second period with a 2 point safety. The Shamrocks lined up to punt at their own 11 yard line. The snap sailed over the punters head and out of the end zone giving the Shamrocks a 7-2 margin.
Hartland’s Austin Pierce 67 yard return of the free kick put the Eagles in business. Senior quarterback Stephen Milarch tossed a six yard touchdown pass to Austin Pierce putting the Eagles ahead 8-7.
Catholic Central took over on the ensuing kickoff at their own 14 yard line. The Shamrocks went on an 86 yard drive highlighted by a long run by quarterback Garrett Moores. David Houle plunged in from the one. Moores converted on the extra point giving the Shamrocks a 14-8 lead at the half.
The Shamrock defense held Hartland to a three and out on the opening drive of the third quarter. Catholic Central went on a systematic 10 play, 65 yard drive on their first drive of the second half. Garrett Moores hooked up with tight end Dylan Roney on a 16 yard touchdown pass giving the Shamrocks a 21-8 lead with 5:55 left in the third quarter.
Hartland came right back on a halfback pass from Anthony Villar to quarterback Stephen Villar on a third and 21 good for a big first down. The Shamrocks were guilty of a face mask penalty on the play giving Hartland a first and goal from the 11 yard line.
The third quarter ended as Catholic Central ahead 21-8.
Eagle quarterback Stephen Milarch tossed a 11 yard touchdown pass to Anthony Villar on the second play of the fourth quarter. Hartland’s Alec Bain converted on the extra point cutting the lead to 21-15. The Eagle defense played their hearts out in the fourth quarter giving the ball back to the offense three times.
The Eagles scored on what appeared to be the tying touchdown with 4:15 left from the 5 yard line. An offensive pass interference penalty nullified the play giving Hartland a second and goal from the 20 yard line. The Shamrock defense stiffened as Marcus Rashid recovered a fumble as Hartland attempted a double reverse pass on fourth down.
Rashid advanced the ball to the Catholic Central 48 yard line. After a long run by Wyatt Shallman, the Eagle defense came up big with 2:08 left in the game. Hartland held on fourth and one from the 18. The offense took over after the measurement. On the first play, Jon Malone intercepted a pass for Catholic Central. The Shamrocks ran out the clock giving them a 21-15 win.
Catholic Central (6-4) advances to the district final next week to play Walled Lake Northern. Quarterback Stephen Milarch had an outstanding game in his final game for the Eagles.
The KLAA West Division Champions Hartland wraps up the 2012 season with a 8-2 record.