DETROIT, Michigan -- The Ithaca Yellowjackets took down the Clinton Redskins in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 6 State Championship at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Leading the 27-20 victory for Ithaca was quarterback Jake Smith, who completed 10-of-21 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown. Along with throwing the ball, Smith ran the ball for 140 yards and three scores.
With the appearance, Ithaca has made it to the state championship in each of the previous six seasons. Both the Yellowjackets of the Tri-Valley Conference-West and Redskins, who play in the Tri-County Conference, came into the championship game with an undefeated record, but only one left victorious.
Clinton got the first score of the game with 2:19 to play in the first quarter. Kaden Kelly, the quarterback, completed a 21-yard touchdown strike to Noah Poore. The score gave the Redskins a 7-0 lead over the Yellowjackets.
At the half, Mathew Sexton led the offense for Clinton with 11 carries for 74 yards. Meanwhile, Poore had 14 carries for 42 yards and two catches for 25 yards and a score. For Ithaca, quarterback Smith completed 5-of-10 passes for 61 yards before heading into the halftime locker room.
With 10:03 left in the second quarter, Clinton broke loose for a 56-yard touchdown carry from the legs of Sexton to give his squad a 13-0 lead. Erik Bouse missed the extra point because it was blocked by an Ithaca defender.
Sexton led the Clinton offense with 20 carries for 146 yards and a touchdown, while Poore chipped in 92 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.
The Yellowjackets bounced back with a touchdown of their own, exactly two minutes later. Smith, the quarterback, carried the ball 14 yards on a keeper into the end zone to cut the Ithaca deficit to six points against Clinton.
Smith did it again, but this time it was through the air. The senior hooked up with Spence DeMull for a 18-yard score with 4:31 to play in the third quarter. The touchdown gave the Yellowjackets a 14-13 lead over the Redskins.
After the first two scores on back-to-back drives, Smith was destined to do it again. He made it three straight scoring drives for Ithaca with an 11-yard rushing touchdown. The third touchdown for the quarterback pushed Ithaca to a 21-13 lead over Clinton as the third quarter ended.
Smith found Grant Gimmy at midfield for a 24-yard pickup on third-and-22 set up a touchdown for the Yellowjackets. The third rushing score for Smith came from one yard out to gave Ithaca a 27-13 lead with 7:47 to play in the game after a missed extra point from Adam Culp.
Smith finished with 306 total yards - 180 passing yards and 126 rushing yards - and four total touchdowns to lead Ithaca to the win. His favorite target was DeMull, who caught four passes for 89 yards and a score.
The Redskins bounced back with a three-yard touchdown carry from Poore. The senior cut Ithaca's lead to 27-20 with 4:59 to play in the game.
On fourth-and-10 from the Redskins 46-yard line, Ithaca sealed the deal with a monster sack on Kelly, the quarterback for Clinton. The turnover handed the ball back to Ithaca, who ran out the clock to win the Division 6 State Championship.
Kelly, a senior, only managed 79 yards and one touchdown on four completions during the loss to Ithaca on Friday.
With the win at Ford Field in Detroit, Ithaca finished the season 14-0, while Clinton fell to 13-1.