Throwback Thursday: St. Francis Rolls to 2008 D7 State Title
MISportsNow’s Throwback Thursday is looking back at northern Michigan’s greatest games, from buzzer beaters to state finals. This marks the 14th in the biweekly series.
DETROIT – Ben Swan and Ryan Farley tallied two touchdowns apiece as Traverse City St. Francis romped to a 41-13 victory over Ubly in the 2008 MHSAA Division 7 state championship game at Ford Field in Detroit.
Appearing in its second consecutive Division 7 state final after being shut out 20-0 by Mendon in the 2007 title game, St. Francis (13-1) scored on four of its first five possessions to take a commanding 28-0 lead at the half en route to its fourth MHSAA state championship.
First-year head coach Greg Vaughan, who won his first of two state championships as a coach that Saturday in Detroit, won a state title as a St. Francis player in 1992.
“I think at St. Francis we set out goals high, and we have some talented kids. It’s all about the Jimmys and the Joes, not the “X’s and the O’s,” Vaughan said following the win. “The expectations were high. It feels great. It’s not going to sink in for me for a couple of days really, when I can sit down and relax and my head’s no spinning. But it feels great.”
Swan and Farley combined for 248 of the 297 yards St. Francis produced on the ground while quarterback Corey Williams went 4-for-6 for 110 yards and two scores including a 58-yard touchdown pass to Farley.
The Gladiators tallied 407 total yards of offense on 41 plays.
Alex Peruski led the Ubly (13-1) ground attack with 122 yards and a score on 17 carries while Jordan Kaufman rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Kaufman also completed 3-of-7 passing for 31 yards and an interception in the loss.
St. Francis posted an 8-1 regular season in 2008 and won the Lake Michigan Conference championship. Its only blemish was a 17-14 loss to Saginaw Nouvel in Week 2.
In the playoffs the Gladiators won a district title with wins over Whittemore-Prescott (55-8) and Merrill (70-48) and a regional championship with a victory over Iron River West Iron County (35-12). St. Francis then met Ravenna in a semifinal and came out on top of a 28-7 game.
St. Francis would again return to the Division 7 finals in 2009 and claim its second straight state championship with a 42-8 victory over Hudson.
The Gladiators have made four semifinal appearances since 2009 but are still awaiting their return to the state’s biggest stage.