Road to the Dome: Pickford Looks to Cap off Historic Run with 1st State Title

MARQUETTE – Pickford’s senior class is looking to cap off a historic four-year run this weekend with its first state championship.

Pickford and Portland St. Patrick will meet for the first time in Saturday’s state final.

The Panthers have gone 44-5 with three conference championships, three state semifinal appearances and back-to-back state finals bids over the last four years.

After falling to Morrice in the 2018 MHSAA 8-player Division 1 final, Pickford (11-1) is back and will face a tough opponent in Portland St. Patrick (12-0) for the 8-player Division 2 state championship Saturday afternoon at Northern Michigan University’s Superior Dome in Marquette.


The Panthers are back in Marquette after recording a 40-8 semifinal win over Hillman last Friday. Pickford also picked up postseason wins over conference foe Engadine (57-12) and avenged its only regular-season loss with a 22-14 victory over No. 1 Powers North Central in a regional final.

Pickford and Portland St. Patrick have combined for four state finals appearances since 2017.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” Pickford coach Josh Rader said. “We were a young team last year and we’ve been building towards this all year long. The seniors on the team, that’s one of their goals. It’s been a lot of excitement all week long.”

“We’ve been dreaming about this since last year,” added Pickford senior quarterback Jimmy Storey. “It’s a huge game. It’s what every high school player dreams of. We’re excited to be back and hopefully we can take it tomorrow.

St. Patrick is making its second 8-player Division 2 finals appearance since 2017 and is seeking its first undefeated campaign and state title since winning the 1992 Class D state championship and going 13-0. The Shamrocks rolled through the previous three postseason opponents, beating Bay City All Saints (45-0), Kinde North Huron (51-16) and Climax-Scotts (49-6).

“We’ve been watching film on them all week,” Storey said. “They’re a good team. It’s going to be a good game. They’ve got a lot of fast guys. Good quarterback. It’s going to be a good game.”

Saturday’s game from the Superior Dome kicks off at 2 p.m.

Categories: Football