Senior QB Trevor McConnell throws a pass in the Cranes playoff loss to River Rouge (S. Fairman- Photo Credit)
The Cranbrook Cranes were defeated by the River Rouge Panthers 21-14 in MHSAA D4 Regional 4 final. This playoff game was a tough defensive struggle that was decided late in the fourth quarter. The Cranes were within striking distance of a victory.
“The team played great today and left everything on the field, everyone should be proud of them, “said Cranes Head Coach Joe D’Angelo.
The Panthers opened the scoring on a short run by senior RB Alexander Carter at the 4:03 mark in the 1st qtr. River Rouge would take this lead in to halftime.
“Our defense played well and kept us in the game,” said D’Angelo.
Late in the 3rd qtr. River Rouge found the end zone on a short run by senior RB Dauran McKinney at the 2:32 mark. Rouge led 14-0.
The Cranes would get the offense in gear on the very next drive, culminating in a 15-yard pass to senior RB Aaron Wiggins.
The score stood at 14-7 at the end of the 3rd qtr.
The Cranbrook defense would put the team on even footing. With River Rouge pinned deep within their own territory, Wiggins stripped the ball from Panthers RB Daraun McKinney at 1 yard line. Sophomore LB Jack Fairman would pounce on the ball as it lay in the end zone for a Cranbrook TD.
The game was tied 14-14 with 10:19 left in the game.
After a series with both teams committing turnovers, the Panthers capitalized on a Crane mishap and scored on a second TD by Alexander Carter.
Rouge took the lead 21-14, and eventually ran the clock out on the Cranes season.
“We weren’t able to take advantage of their mistakes at the end of the game, “said D’Angelo. “ River Rouge was a well-prepared team and they earned their way to the next round.”
Cranbrook QB Trevor McConnell was 6 for 21 119 1 TD, RB Aaron Wiggins had 8 carries for 29 yards. WR Marqis Stokes had 2 receptions for 41 yards. DE Chris Smith had 10 tackles to lead the defense.
River Rouge RB Alexander Carter led the Panthers as he ran for 183 on 21 carries and 2 TD's in their victory.
River Rouge moves on to meet Edwardsburg in the MHSAA Division 4 semi-final next week.
Cranbrook finishes the season 10-2, with a MHSAA District Championship and a CHSL Prep Bowl Championship as well.