MARQUETTE– Gavin Mortensen cemented the tradition of the 2017 Central Lake football team when he cruised into completion zone for the game-winning goal against Deckerville in the Department 1 8-man state championship video game on Nov. 18.
The Central Lake senior quarterback was mobbed by his colleagues under the bright lights of Northern Michigan University’s Superior Dome as the Trojans finished the return with a 32-30 victory against the Eagles.
“It feels incredible. It feels definitely incredible,” Mortensen stated after the win. “I’m at a loss for words today. It hasn’t sunk it. It’s wild.”
The two-point margin was the closest the undefeated Trojans (13-0) had played to all season. Central Lake had dominated its challengers preceeding the champion contest, balancing 53.3 points per game and permitting just 22.3. That incredible run is available in Central Lake’s very first year in 8-man and a season after going 2-7 in 11-man.
Central Lake head coach Rob Heeke said the Trojans had come “a long method from August.”
“Just another for the season, another for the story,” Heeke said. “As we have actually gone through the season, people didn’t think we had it in us– they didn’t believe in us. We understood what was in that group, exactly what remained in that locker room. Those kids simply battled through so much this year. What an incredible, incredible day for them and for the community. It’s been a blast, and they’re excited to commemorate this for the rest of their lives.”
The Trojans trailed 24-14 at the half against a powerful Deckerville offense. Central Lake likewise went into the locker room knowing beginning center Dalin Clark was not returning to the field after suffering a leg injury late in the 2nd quarter.The 6-0, 265-pound Clark was changed by Vance Hoeksema, a 5-6, 140-pound sophomore who had taken just 4 snaps all season. Hoeksema revealed nerves early however came out in the second half with fire in his tummy and worked almost flawlessly with an aggressive offending line to open the rushing attack.Down 30-26 in the 4th, Central
Lake got the ball back at its own 11-yard line with a state championship simply 89 yards away. The Trojans would not be rejected. “We were all just shocked.
‘No way. We truly simply did this? ‘We remained in shock. We didn’t truly know, “Mortensen stated.” You dream about it, and after that suddenly you’re a state champ. It’s crazy.”
Central Lake players shed tears of delight and welcomed at midfield prior to Heeke raised the state champion trophy over his head then turned the sacred hardware over to his players.Mortensen led the charge
into the locker room through a throng of Central Lake fans with the prize held high– a prize that is now on display screen for all to see.”It’s going to be there permanently. This team left their tradition by putting a trophy in that case,” junior Grant Papineau stated.” I have no idea if I’ve still processed everything the method or not. We really won. We’re state champs. It’s amazing. I just cannot think it.”