ST. JOSEPH — Lake Michigan Catholic celebrated its 50th year of football here Friday night, winning a wild and wooly area 8-man league game, 54-34 over New Buffalo at Dickinson Stadium.

Despite losing their top rusher Daiden Shaw to a knee injury late in the first half and trailing the Bison 28-22 at halftime, the Lakers outscored them 32-6 in the last half to even their league and overall records to 3-3 and 4-4, respectively.

“I’ve never been prouder of a team, the way they responded in the second half after losing our quarterback (Shaw),” stated Toby Riley, Catholic coach, of his squad’s homecoming victory. “We had so many guys step up and get the job done. 

Shaw had rushed for 85 yards and two touchdowns of 3 and 9 yards before his injury with 3:08 left in the first half.

“It looks like he just tweaked his knee, but we’ll know more tomorrow,” said Riley.

But in his absence, a bevy of Lakers contributed, especially in the last half.

Conner Casey rushed for 191 yards on 15 carries, including two long TD scampers of 69 and 94 yards in the third quarter when the Lakers regained the lead at 36-28. Then early in the fourth, Casey hit Charles Booker on a 54-yard TD pass.

Booker snared two passes for 88 yards, and had an 19-yard TD scamper early in the second quarter. Brandon Buchanan added two more TDs on runs of 47 and 21 yards, while gaining 100 yards on just 7 totes.

New Buffalo (1-4 league, 1-6 overall) was led by quarterback Michael Bombin, who connected on 14 of 23 aerials for 246 yards including TD strikes of 48 and 26 yards to Anthony Lijewski. Bombin also rushed for 91 yards on 16 carries, scoring on runs of 2 and 13 yards.

The Bison also scored on a 76-yard punt return by Lijewski, who grabbed eight passes for 154 yards. 

A key moment in the game came with 3:02 left in the third and the Lakers leading 30-28. The Bison had a first and goal from the Laker 1-yard line, but Bombin bobbled the snap from center, losing the football on the 3-yard line. Two plays later, LMC’s Casey rumbled 94 yards to paydirt, for a two-touchdown swing.

Lake Michigan Catholic 54, New Buffalo 34 

New Buffalo 6 22 0 6 — 34

LM Catholic 6 6 4 18 — 54

First quarter

L - Daiden Shaw 3 run (run failed)

NB - Michael Bombin 2 run (run failed)

Second quarter

L - Charles Booker 19 run (Brandon Buchanan run)

L - Shaw 9 run (Buchanan run)

NB - Bombin 13 run (Ben Coffeen pass from Bombin)

NB - Anthony Lijewski 76 punt return (pass failed)

NB - Lijewski 48 pass from Bombin (Lijewski run)

Third quarter

L - Connor Casey 69 run (Buchanana run)

L - Casey 94 run (run failed)

Fourth quarter

L - Booker 54 pass from Casey (run failed)

NB - Lijewski 26 pass from Bombin (run failed)

L - Buchanan 47 run (run failed)

L - Buchanan 21 run (run failed)

NB C

Frist downs 13 12

Net rushing 136 236

Passing 246 88

Comp-Att-Int. 14-23-0 2-6-0

Total net yards 482 324 

Fumbles lost 1-1 0-0

Yards penalized 6-45 10-57

Punts-Ave. 3-35 3-38

Top individual stats

Rushing - NB: Bombin 16-91. LMC: Casey 15-191; Buchanan 7-100, Shaw 13-85.

Passing - NB - Bombin 14-23-241. LMC: Casey 1-3-54.

Receiving - NB: Lijewski 8-154. LMC: Boooker 2-88.

Records — New Buffalo 1-4, 1-6; Catholic 3-3, 4-4.