De La Salle dominates, defeats St. Mary's 31-8 to take control of Central Division race
Orchard Lake – Entering Friday night’s highly anticipated Catholic League matchup between Orchard Lake St. Mary’s and Warren De La Salle, many expected it to be a low-scoring defensive tussle.
It also matched two defending state champions. De La Salle won Division 2; St. Mary’s Division 3.
But it was the Pilot’s defense and its rushing attack, even without star running back Allen Stritzinger (ankle injury), that dominated the game as De La Salle rolled to a 31-8 victory over top-ranked St. Mary’s (4-1, 1-1).
The victory gives De La Salle (4-1, 2-0) the inside track in the race for the league’s Central Division title
De La Salle coach Paul Verska said that even he was a bit surprised that his team was able to roll to such a convincing win where the Pilots led 31-0 late in the game.
“Anytime you get out to a big lead on a team like that, it’s a surprise,” he said. “It’s happened to us before, things go right and your way and it just clicks and it rolls and when it rolls, it’s fun and when it doesn’t, it’s misery.”
The Pilots led 10-0 at halftime on Josh Wilk’s 1-yard touchdown run and a late field goal
The Pilots forced a turnover to start the second half, and scored quickly on receiver Myles Charley’s 28-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 17-0.
Verska said that it was his De La Salle’s first touchdown drive of the game that really set the tone for the Pilots as they marched 97 yards for the touchdown.
“The key for us in particular was the 97-yard drive,” he said. “We took a 97-yard drive and took it down there and scored and that sort of set the tone and our kids were thinking ‘we can do this all the way down the field’ and that’s what we kept doing.”
De La Salle would push the lead to 24-0 early on in the fourth quarter when Wilk scored his second touchdown from 1-yard out.
Wilk said that he felt his team’s win on Friday night made a bit of a statement for the Pilots.
“I do think it was a statement,” he said. “All of the guys thought we were a borderline team just waiting to make our break and I think this is it and we just have to keep going up.”
Verska praised his quarterback’s play noting his senior continues to improve each and every game.
“I thought he had a great game,” he said. “I think he’s getting better each week, getting a little more confidence and he ran the ball real well. We had a couple of mistakes, we dropped some balls early that we should have caught, but we got better and better as the game went on.”
Tru Wilson’s 2-yard touchdown run gave the Pilots a 31-0 lead.
St. Mary’s scored in the closing minutes on RaShawn Allen’s touchdown run and conversion.