Friday, DePorres rallied from a 3-0 halfime deficit against the underdog Aggies who despite entering the contest 13-0, weren’t given much of a chance against a DePorres team some consider the most talented in the state. Two players, Carl Grimes and defensive back Eric Hines, have committed to play at Michigan State and Simpson may have a Division I collegiate future somewhere.
Chris Schafer’s 27-yard field gave Beal City a 3-0 halftime lead then the DePorres offense got to work. Simpson scrambled for 38 yards to set up a 7-yard touchdown run by Daryl Graham. Jordan Leasher scored for Beal City and a 9-7 lead. But on the very next play of the game, Simpson countered with an 80-yard touchdown strike to a wide open David Grimes, giving DePorres the lead for good.
“I’m extremely happy,” said DePorres coach Greg Carter. “We got it together in the second half. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Carter gave a family member credit for the winning touchdown.
“She suggested that I try it to start the game,” Carter said. “We figured we would try that play later.”
Simpson said he’s considering Iowa and some Mid-American Conference schools but won’t make a decision until signing day in February.
“This program has prepared me for the college level,” Simpson said. “I’ve learned a lot. I’ve been challenged at reading audibles and trusting my offensive line. I’ve learned a lot in the last two years.”
DePorres ended the season at 12-2, having lost only to Dearborn Divine Child 28-27 and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 33-28. Beal City, which won a state title in 1994, ends at 13-1.
The even-numbered divisions had their state title games on Friday. The odd-numbered divisions play Sunday.
In Division 2, David Guy rushed for two touchdowns and threw for a pair to lead Rochester Adams, 12-2, to its first ever state title with a 28-7 win over the legendary Birmingham Brother Rice program. Adams, which had never gotten beyond the second round of the playoffs, ended the season at 12-2. Brother Rice, which fell behind 14-0 and never recovered, ended the year at 10-4. Brother Rice is 1-3 in its last four appearances in the state finals in the past five years.
The Division 4 state champion is Three Rivers, which defeated DeWitt 24-6 in the title game. David Booko rushed for 208 yards to lead Three Rivers to its first ever state title. Three Rivers defensive back Nic Thompson set a state finals record by intercepting three passes. DeWitt quarterback Dan Blemast broke a state finals record by being intercepted five times. DeWitt ended the season at 11-3.
Ravenna coach Dusty Fairfield coached his team to its fourth ever state title with a 16-14 victory against previously unbeaten Saginaw Nouvel. Both teams ended the season with 13-1 records. Jake Plont and Josh Teeter scored touchdowns for the winners.