By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
To provide for the convenience and safety of spectators attending the MHSAA 11-Player Football Finals on Nov. 23 and 24 at Ford Field in Detroit, attendees are being advised of a variety of items related to transportation and security – including policies regulating types of bags allowed into the stadium.
Parking will be available in Ford Field facilities and lots to the east and north of the stadium and costs $6. A map identifying the designated Ford Field lots (4, 5 and 6) and parking deck can be found on the Football page of the MHSAA Website. (There also are a number of privately-operated parking facilities close to Ford Field, but their pricing may differ.)
Fans also are advised that the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Ford Field parking facilities and lots, and smoking – including use of electronic cigarettes and vaporizers – is prohibited inside the stadium. Tailgating, including the setting up and use of grilling equipment, is allowed only in Lot 5.
Gates A, B and G will be available for public entrance during the event. Ticket sales will begin near Gates A and G at 8 a.m. each day, and the building will open its doors to spectators at 9 a.m. Tickets must be paid for in cash only.
Tickets are priced at $10 and allow a fan to see all four games in a single day. Spectators leaving the stadium will be required to purchase another ticket for re-entry. Infants able to be held in arms will be admitted without charge for this event. There will not be a public Will Call window.
Upon arrival in the building, fans will find their designated seating areas on the South side of the field if their team is the designated home team for their contest and on the North side for the designated visiting team. Home teams this weekend are Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, Muskegon Mona Shores, Muskegon, Edwardsburg, Portland, Jackson Lumen Christi, Madison Heights Madison and Reading. Brightly lit video boards above the seating areas will display the names of the participating teams each day, and fans should sit on the side of the stadium where they see their school’s name. For general fans, the entire lower bowl of Ford Field will be open for the event.
Security measures also will be in place to help assure spectator safety. Fans will be subject to metal detector screening, and Ford Field personnel reserve the right to request patrons open their coats, bags and other item-carrying vessels for visual inspection and deny entrance to individuals who do not cooperate. Spectators should remove cell phones, cameras, keys and other large metal objects before passing through the metal detectors.
Items which fans will be prohibited from bringing into the building include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, cinch bags, grocery & paper bags, duffle bags, luggage of any kind, computer and camera bags and large camera cases.
• Aerosol cans (hairspray, mace, pepper spray, etc.)
• Animals (except service animals to aid guests with disabilities)
• Balloons (air or helium)
• Balls (beach balls, footballs, etc.)
• Banners or large flags
• Cameras with lenses longer than five inches. Selfie Sticks also are prohibited.
• Decals, stickers, confetti or glitter
• Drones and/or remote controlled aircraft.
• Electronic equipment including laptop computers, video recorders (hand-held video cameras are allowed), tripods and wearable video cameras including Go Pros.
• Food, beverages or liquids (cans, bottles, boxes, flasks, etc.)
• Illegal substances
• Knives, pocket knives, box cutters, scissors, etc.
• Laser pointers
• Markers (permanent) and/or paint
• Noisemaking devices (bells, horns, kazoos, whistles, etc.)
• Objects that can be used as missiles or projectiles (sticks, bats, clubs, Frisbees, etc.)
• Seat cushions
• Strollers and infant car seats or carriers
• Umbrellas (large size)
The following items will be permitted after inspection:
• Small bags, purses and fanny packs that do not exceed 8½ inches by 14 inches by 10 inches. An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at a gate designated for this purpose.
• Diaper bags (only if accompanied by a child)
• Binoculars and binoculars cases
• Cameras and small camera cases (lenses may not measure longer than five inches, and no tripods or extension cords)
• Small radios (no larger than the size of a football and used with an earpiece)
• Small, compact umbrellas (must be placed securely under seat)
• Posters and signs without poles or sticks, or larger than what one person can hold.
The complete list of prohibited items can be found on the Ford Field Website. Prohibited items that are discovered during security inspections at stadium entrances must be returned to the owner's vehicle or discarded. Items will not be held for later pickup.
Fans are reminded that all image taking (still and video) may be only for personal, non-commercial use.
DETROIT – Isaiah Marshall took a second Sunday night to think about the interception he’d just thrown that led to Belleville taking a late lead in the Division 1 Football Final.
But just a second.
When Marshall and his Southfield Arts & Technology teammates took the field down four points with 4 minutes, 47 seconds remaining at Ford Field, the interception wasn’t on his mind. Neither was the raucous Belleville crowd that had awoken on the home side of the stadium.
He wasn’t thinking about stopping a three-peat or snapping a 38-game Belleville win streak. He wasn’t thinking about the talk he’d heard during the week leading up to the game, that his team was on its way to getting blown out like so many of those previous 38 opponents.
All Marshall was focused on was doing his job.
“As soon as I threw the pick, I knew what I had to do differently,” Marshall said. “I just wasn’t thinking about that last play. As soon as I threw the pick, I just thought about it on the bench, then as soon as I came out, it wasn’t on my mind at all. I just knew I had to go down the field and score.”
Like he had all night, Marshall came through when the Warriors needed him most, leading his team on a 69-yard scoring drive, finishing the final 11 with his legs for the go-ahead score in Southfield A&T’s 36-32 victory against Belleville.
His defense finished the rest, as Dorian Freeman intercepted a pass during the final seconds, sealing the first Finals title for Southfield.
“It’s special,” A&T coach Aaron Marshall said. “It’s special for the community. It’s a long time coming. All week I’ve been getting calls from guys I’ve never met just congratulating the boys on making it. We had never even made it to the championship game, let alone won one. It’s real big for the community. I’m really proud.”
To do it, the Warriors needed to overcome the team that has dominated Division 1 for the past three seasons in Belleville (13-1). The Tigers had won the past two Division 1 Finals, and hadn’t dropped a game since Sept. 10, 2021.
They entered Sunday having outscored opponents this fall by an average of 49-7. They also featured the nation’s No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2025 in quarterback Bryce Underwood.
But Sunday, none of that mattered to Marshall and the Warriors (13-1). Well, except maybe the last part.
“Just a little bit,” Marshall said when asked if he was out to prove he was the state’s top quarterback. “I do think I’m the best player in the state. Me proving that tonight, and showing what I can do on the big stage shows that, I think.”
He finished the night completing 20 of 31 passes for 281 yards with two touchdowns, as well as two interceptions. He also rushed for 134 yards and the go-ahead score, as well as the two-point conversion that put his team up four.
“He came out there and played like I thought he was going to play,” said Belleville star linebacker and running back Jeremiah Beasley, who has committed to Michigan. “He’s a real tough player. Since we were little, he’s always been tough. He came out there and played with all his heart, and they came out on top.”
Underwood certainly had his moments, finishing 11 for 24 for 164 yards and a touchdown to go along with one interception. He also had five rushes for 39 yards.
And A&T was certainly cognizant of what Underwood could do, especially when he got the ball back with 47 seconds to play and a chance to take the lead. But by playing coverage, they didn’t allow the Tigers to push the ball down the field, and eventually pressure from senior defensive tackle Reggie Gardner forced the throw that Freeman intercepted to clinch the game.
“My coaches just told me to spy the quarterback, and whatever he did, I would go,” Freeman said. “Then it was just right in my zone.”
A&T led for most of the game, getting a pair of rushing touchdowns from Mathias Davis during the first half, the second score giving them a 12-7 lead.
After a 31-yard field goal from Belleville’s Brayden Lane made the score 12-10, Marshall engineered an 80-yard drive over the final three minutes of the second quarter to give his team a 10-point lead at the half. He accounted for 79 of the 80 yards with either his legs or his arm, finishing it off with a 13-yard TD pass to Tashi Braceful with 13 seconds remaining in the half. Braceful finished the night with 10 catches for 152 yards.
The Warriors nearly added to that halftime lead, as well, recovering a squib kick at the Belleville 43. Marshall hit Tyjuan Esper for a 38-yard gain on the next play, but he was tackled as the first-half clock expired.
Early in the third quarter, Marshall and the Warriors did stretch their lead when he threw a 19-yard TD pass to Xavi Bowman on a 4th-and-14. DaMario Quarles’ conversion run put them up 28-10 with 3:39 to play in the third quarter.
Of course, Belleville didn’t go away.
The Tigers responded immediately with a 45-yard TD pass from Underwood to Jalen Johnson. And after stopping Marshall on a 4th-and-2 run near midfield, they needed just three plays and 30 seconds to pull within three points of the lead as Beasley scored on a 15-yard run.
On the next A&T possession, Marquis Peoples put Belleville right back in business with an interception that he returned to the 35-yard line. Beasley again cashed in three plays later, with a 22-yard TD run that gave Belleville a 33-27 lead with 4:47 remaining.
Beasley finished the night with 106 yards and the two touchdowns on the ground.
“He’s a senior ball player; he did exactly what he was supposed to do,” Belleville coach Calvin Norman said of Beasley. “He came through in the clutch. When he ran the ball, he did his thing. I have nothing but love for the young man.”
Belleville cornerback Adrian Walker made one of the more remarkable plays of the weekend late in the first quarter, intercepting a Marshall pass deep in A&T territory.
Walker got both hands on the pass, deflecting it up and toward himself as he was spinning up the field. The ball went over his head and Walker reached behind his back to make the catch at the A&T 26.
Four plays later, Belleville was on the board with a 16-yard Colbey Reed touchdown run, and the Tigers led 7-6.
PHOTOS (Top) Southfield A&T quarterback Isaiah Marshall stretches for the game-winning touchdown during Sunday’s Division 1 Final. (Middle) The Warriors ended the night by raising their first championship trophy. (Below) Belleville’s Adrian Walker (2) makes a stunning behind-the-back interception. (Photos by Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)