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FOOTBALL: Catholic Central gets the best of Illinois' Chicago Simeon WITH VIDEO

EDITOR'S NOTE: Scroll to the bottom of this story to view an array of Tout videos from this game.

NOVI — There is always conjecture and speculation about which state has the best football talent. It’s always special when those conversations are manifested into reality.

Such was the case on Saturday when Novi Detroit Catholic Central and Chicago Simeon squared off settling the debate, for at least a night.

The Shamrocks (2-0) firmly proved that between Michigan and Illinois, Michigan was better, beating the Wolverines (0-2) 35-13.

“When we watched (Simeon) on film we weren’t sure if we’d win this game, quiet honestly, because they had so much speed and they’re well coached,” Catholic Central head coach Tom Mach said.

“We knew all year after we scheduled the game we had a responsibility to represent not only our school, but our league and our state. I was pleasantly surprised with our boys on getting the win.”

Catholic Central established the tone early the only way it knows how, by running the football. Behind 13-yard and 11-yard runs, the Shamrocks faced a second-and-six on the 28 yard line.

Senior running back Connor Holton finished off the drive with a 28-yard touchdown run off the right side out running a host of Wolverines on his way to building a 7-0 lead with 7:24 left in the first quarter.

On the ensuing offensive possession, the Shamrocks struck again on the very first play of the drive. Senior Dylan Roney, who ran for 95 yards on five carries, scored his only touchdown of the game on a 61-yard carry up the middle for a 14-0 lead.

“We didn’t have the best walk-through on Friday,” Roney explained. “Our coaches told us we had to respond to adversity and that’s exactly what we did.”

Roney also made his presence felt on defense collecting 12 total tackles, one sack, and had a fumble recovery deep in Simeon’s end in the fourth quarter.

Bock would set up a scoring drive for the Shamrocks almost single handedly after Catholic Central took over possession on the 35 yard line. Bock, who ran for 111 yards on nine carries, rattled off a 42-yard run down to the 17 yard line, where a few plays later he’d score from on a reverse to give Catholic Central a 21-7 lead with 7:18 left in the second quarter.

Simeon was led by sophomore running back Dion Earls who had a three-yard touchdown run, and a 19-yard touchdown catch with 2:38 left in the fourth quarter for the Wolverines’ only points of the game.

Catholic Central’s defense did its part to set the tone as well, holding Simeon to 189 yards rushing and 72 yards passing. Along with Roney’s fumble recovery, senior Jack Van Acker recorded two interceptions for the Shamrocks.

One of Van Acker’s interceptions was returned for a 21-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and had a drive killing interception in the fourth quarter as well.

Van Acker’s emergence is somewhat surprising because he’s known for his lacrosse skills and he missed a year of football.

“He asked us to come out last year, and we weren’t sure if we were going to let him because he missed a season. We didn’t know if playing football would be beneficial for him or not, but I’m sure glad we changed our mind,” Mach said.

“He’s been a tremendous asset to our team. He’s got great speed. He’s a tough young man, and he’s made big plays for us early in the season. I’m happy with his development, and I think he’ll just keep getting better.”

Entering the season it was unknown how good Catholic Central could be, and after Saturday’s win it could be said that there is little to no drop off between this year’s and last season’s squad.

However, Mach isn’t sold just yet.

“We’ve got a long way to go to be tough,” he said. “We talk about toughness everyday. We talk about physical toughness, mental toughness, and emotional toughness. We preach that all the time.

“I thought we did a very good job today, but we’re going to have to get a lot tougher. Next week we have (Whitmer) coming in here, and a team from Pennslyvania and then we get into the Catholic League. With that schedule, we’re going to have to get tougher each week because our opponents will demand it.”

The Shamrocks will look to defend Michigan’s reputation once again next week on Sept. 13 against Toledo Whitmer at home.

Last Updated: 9/7/2013 11:32:48 PM EST

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