Ishpeming wins back-to-back state football championships

DETROIT – The Ishpeming High School football team wrapped up an undefeated season and back-to-back MHSAA Division 7 state football championships with a 22-12 victory over Detroit Loyola on Saturday at Ford Field in Detroit.

Loyola, which lost to Ishpeming in the 2012 Div. 7 championship, fumbled the opening kickoff to give Ishpeming the ball on the Bulldogs’ 22 yard line to start the game.

Ishpeming senior quarterback Alex Briones converted the turnover into points by completing a 17-yard touchdown pass to receiver Marcus Antilla with running back Adam Prisk running in the two-point conversion for an 8-0 first quarter lead.

Briones put the Hematites up 14-0 early in the second quarter with a 2-yard TD pass through coverage to receiver Mitch Laurin. Briones was stopped on his two-point conversion run attempt.

Briones picked up his first rushing touchdown of the day from 2 yards out with 4:38 to play in the third quarter. He then hit Antilla over the middle for the two-point conversion and a 22-0 lead.

Defensively, Ishpeming defensive backs Tyrus Millimaki and Bobby Zhulkie each had interceptions to end Detroit Loyola drives in the second quarter. Ozzy Corp had another INT for Ishpeming in the fourth quarter to thwart Loyola’s attempt at a rally.

Ishpeming was credited with six sacks, led by Laurin and Prisk with two and one from Zhulkie and Dominic Saurdini.

Loyola got on the scoreboard with 1:46 to play in the third quarter on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Keith Graves to a wide open Garrett Schaller, but the two-point conversion failed.

Graves later cut the Ishpeming lead to 10 in the fourth quarter with a 31-yard TD reception, but again the Loyola two-point conversion failed because of a sack by Jordan Tousignant.

Briones finished 6-of-13 passing for 76 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball 27 times for 60 yards and a touchdown.

Prisk led Ishpeming in rushing with 77 yards on nine carries while Antilla was the leading receiver with two catches for 37 yards and a touchdown.