Grand Rapids Catholic Central adds to Frankenmuth nightmare with semifinal shutout

MOUNT PLEASANT, MI – A nightmare start for Frankenmuth helped Grand Rapids Catholic Central take another step towards the end of another dream season.

The Cougars took advantage of a fumble and injury in the first five minutes of the game, scoring 21 points in the first quarter en route to a 35-0 win over Frankenmuth on Saturday in a Division 5 semi-final game at Mount Pleasant High School.

“Every team is unique, and this is also something special,” said Catholic Central trainer Todd Kolster. “All year long when someone was knocked down, someone else stepped in. We had people who got injured, but other players came up and did the job.”

However, Frankenmuth could not cope with an injury to star stevedore Cole Lindow in his first possession. Lindow, who won 99 yards in the state final against Catholic Central last season, injured his leg in the Eagles’ first possession. He tried to come back in the second quarter but couldn’t continue.

“It was a tough start … not what we wanted,” said Frankenmuth coach Phil Martin. “The touchdown, the fumbling, and then losing Cole … it’s such a big part of our offensive. I’m proud of how the other players continued to play and fight hard. But yes, losing Cole changed a lot of things. “

Catholic Central, 13-0, travels to Ford Field to claim his fourth state title in five years and second straight championship title in Division 5. The Cougars will play 13-0 Marine City at Ford Field at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, beating Portland, 27-7, in the other semifinals. Last season, Frankenmuth defeated Marine City 31-7 in the first round of the playoffs.

The shutout was the fourth of the season for the Catholic headquarters and limited Frankenmuth to 148 yards and nine first downs.

“Our defense was excellent the whole season … that is thanks to these players and the coach,” said Kolster. “We didn’t change anything when Lindow went out. But as a coach you don’t like to see that. You hate it when a great player gets injured and ends a season like that. “

Lindow came into play with 1,794 yards and 20 touchdowns. He finished Saturday’s game 10 yards over five carries to eclipse the 1,800 yard mark.

Catholic Headquarters has weathered its own potentially debilitating injuries this season. John Passinault, a sophomore student, entered quarterback after starter Joey Silveri sustained an end-of-season injury in their 28-6 week 4 win over Grand Rapids South Christian.

In Catholic Central’s 48-21 win over Frankenmuth in the 2020 state finals, Silveri ran 104 yards and three touchdowns and added 172 yards and three air touchdowns.

In Saturday’s game, Passinault was involved in all five touchdowns of the Catholic headquarters. In the first quarter, he ran for a 2-yard touchdown to end the opening drive and, after the Cougars found a Frankenmuth fumble at the following kickoff, threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Nate VanTimmeren. He added an 11 yard touchdown run for a 21-0 halftime lead.

Passinault followed with two touchdowns in the third quarter with a 1-yard run and a 3-yard TD pass to Devin Fridley-Bell. John Meyer kicked all five extra points.

Passinault completed 20 of 27 passes for 315 yards and added a team-high 85 yard rush on 12 carries.

“I played as a defensive back and receiver last year, so I’m used to playing at that level … although I’m a little more involved now as a quarterback,” said Passinault. “It wasn’t easy, but if it looks easy, it’s because I have great players around me. They make it look easy and they make it easier for me. “

In last year’s state final win against Frankenmuth, Passinault caught two passes for 13 yards and added four tackles in defense.

“We were so well prepared today,” said Passinault. “The coaches prepared us very well and prepared us for this game. Preparation was the key. “

Notre Dame sign Nolan Ziegler caught 10 passes for 167 yards and Ronin Russell-Dixon caught seven passes for 130 yards. Jack Cook and Brady Redmer each had 12 tackles for the 13-0 Cougars.

Frankenmuth quarterback Cole Jankowski tried to take on some of the offensive duties after Lindow left the game. He finished rushing 95 yards for 24 carries.

“If you take half of Cole Squared away, you’ll only have one Cole left,” said Martin. “Cole did a good job taking control and being the leader out there, like he has done since he was sixth grade. The players gathered behind him and followed him.

“But their front seven controlled the line and the game. It made us difficult to keep attacks going on the offensive. Losing Cole hurt, but it’s a very good team too. “

Frankenmuth is 23-2 in the last two seasons, with both defeats in the state finals and in the semifinals against Katholische Zentrale.

Ashton Benkert led Frankenmuth 12: 1 with nine tackles, including two tackles-for-loss. Dayne Reif added eight tackles and one pass break.

Catholic Headquarters will battle it out for their fifth national title in six years at Ford Field on Saturday. The Cougars won the Division 4 state titles in 2016, 2017 and 2019, and added a Division 5 championship in 2020.

“This group is a little looser … forced me to loosen up or maybe lose my mind, I’m not sure,” said Kolster. “It’s exciting to see their growth. We are just taking our step.

“We still have a lot of room for improvement”

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