DETROIT – The Ottawa Lake Whiteford Bobcats (14-0) defeated the Ubly Bearcats (13-1) to capture its first state title since 2017.
With the game tied at 20 early in the fourth quarter, the Bobcats marched down the field on a 17 play, 80-yard drive and finished it with a go-ahead touchdown run from senior quarterback Shea Ruddy. After its defense forced a turnover on downs, Whiteford came away with the win 26-20.
“I’m really proud of our kids and the way that they responded in that last drive,” Whiteford head coach Todd Thieken said. “(We had) given up two scores and kind of let them back in the game, and there was no quit in our kids. We made some tremendous plays. … And the way we finished that game is a testament to all 51 kids on our roster and the way that they’ve worked since last June.”
Thieken captures the state title and goes undefeated in his first season as head coach of Whiteford.
Ruddy finished with over 150 total yards and two rushing touchdowns on offense Friday. On the defensive side, he finished with a team-high 12 tackles and one interception.
Junior running back Hunter DeBarr was Whiteford’s leading rusher with 94 yards and two touchdowns. DeBarr also added 30 yards receiving on two catches. Junior tight end Kolby Masserant led the Bobcats with 82 receiving yards on five catches.
Ubly was looking to secure its first state title in school history. Ubly head coach Eric Sweeney said Ruddy was the most athletic player they faced all season.
“That kid is a heck of a player,” Sweeney said. “That’s the best athlete I’ve seen this year, and I’m sure these guys would say the same thing. He’s quick, explosive, and when you get a kid like that in space he’s tough to tackle.”
Ubly out gained Whiteford on the ground 254-229, but Whiteford threw for 112 yards compared to Ubly’s 13. Junior Ubly running back Seth Maurer had a game-high 129 rushing yards to go along with two touchdowns in the losing effort.