Half of the MAC Gold celebrated a season-long mission on Friday night.
Marysville, Marine City and Sterling Heights all entered their games tied for first, and they all rolled by their opponents to end the conference season in a three-way tie at the top.
Thanks to three touchdowns by Marysville senior Ryan Ellul and 122 passing yards, a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown by junior Phill Griffor, the Vikings topped St. Clair, 38-12. The win not only gave the Vikings a MAC Gold title share, but also their fifth consecutive playoff berth.
The Saints loss also officially knocks them out of state playoff contention, snapping a three-year streak.
The game couldn’t have started any better for Marysville, whose defense forced St. Clair into three straight three-and-outs. On the offensive side of the ball, all it took was three plays for the Vikings to score on their opening drive. Ellul was the man who lit up the scoreboard first, running for a 27-yard score and the two point conversion to make it a quick 8-0.
The Saints defense then stepped up, stopping Marysville on fourth and one in its own territory two possessions in a row. The Saints’ biggest fourth down stop gave them the ball 34 yards away from the end zone, starting a short drive that ended with an 11-yard score by Cam Williams.
The Vikings responded with a booming 33-yard field goal by Nick Chitwood midway through the second quarter, giving the Vikings an 11-6 advantage.
The Vikings caught a break at the end of the first half when the Saints fumbled at midfield with 3:20 left on the clock. Marysville made gold out of that turnover with an eight yard touchdown run by Ellul, making it 17-6 going into halftime.
Marysville found itself in trouble with 4th and 11 on its first drive of the second half, but a 34-yard diving catch set the Vikings up on the Saints’ six yard line. Ellul got his touchdown hat trick on a six-yard run, but a botched snap on the extra point kept it at 23-12.
St. Clair didn’t take long to respond as Riley Gleason dashed for a 41-yard touchdown less than a minute after Marysville’s score. The incomplete pass on the two point try made it 23-12.
Marysville piled on more points, but Griffor broke up Ellul’s scoring streak with a five-yard run of his own. Ellul added the two-point run to make it 31-12 entering the fourth quarter.
It looked like St. Clair would tack on another touchdown, but the ball was coughed up just inches away from the end zone. The scrum unintentionally batted the ball out of bounds, giving the ball to Marysville on its own 20 yard line.
The turnover that took the wind out of the Saints sails came when Vikings junior Dylan Kiger intercepted a pass just outside St. Clair’s red zone. That turnover turned into a drive that ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass to junior Dante Chrcek from Griffor, capping the scoring at 38-12.