Dominant first half leads Warren De La Salle to 41-6 win over Franklin for first title since 2014
Detroit – Throughout the postseason, Warren De La Salle has boasted one of the state’s top defensive units as the Pilots had allowed just 20 points in four postseason games entering Friday afternoon’s Division 2 State Championship Game against Livonia Franklin.
And behind another stellar defensive effort where the Pilots came away with three first half turnovers, and an opportunistic offense that scored 38 first half points, including 31 in the second quarter, De La Salle went on to win its second title in four years, 41-6 over Franklin.
“I think it was something that got out of us that was always in us,” Giannone said of his team’s second quarter effort. “We just executed, we’ve got guys that can make plays, guys that believe in what we’re doing and they can execute. Players make plays, coaches call the plays, but they don’t always work but they always find a way to make us look good.”
It would take De La Salle just 16 seconds to take the lead on Friday afternoon as Brandon Madigan scooped up a Livonia Franklin fumble on the first play of the game and returned it 13 yards for a touchdown to put the Pilots up, 7-0.
“I saw the ball go over his head and immediately, I knew I had to scoop it up,” Madigan said. “It bounced good, I got to pick it up and run it in and Jacob Dobbs even helped me get in and carried me a little bit. It felt great to start the game out with points when they (Franklin) started with the ball.”
After Franklin drove down inside the De La Salle 10-yard line on its next possession, the Patriots would turn the ball over on downs and the Pilots capitalized shortly after as senior quarterback Luke Pfromm connected with Evan Vaillancourt for a 60-yard touchdown pass to extend De La Salle’s lead to 14-0 with 11:02 remaining the in the second quarter.
Pfromm would then account for two more touchdowns in less than three minutes, the first a two yard run, and the second, a 4-yard pass to Sergio Gasperoni to give the Pilots a 28-0 lead with 6:38 left before halftime.
Pfromm, who threw for 207 yards and two touchdowns on 10-of-12 passing, admitted that he didn’t expect to have a big game throwing the ball, but said that the Pilots’ success running the ball early on opened things up for him as the first half went on.
“I knew we were going to come out and try to establish the run first,” he said. “So I didn’t really expect it, but one we got the ground game going and the passes opened up, we went more to the pass.”
De La Salle would later put the game out of reach with 2:04 left before halftime as Cordell Tannyhill III scored on a 2-yard run to push the lead to 35-0.
The Pilots would add a Riley Garrison 23-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the first half to make it 38-0, capping off a 31-point second quarter.
Livonia Franklin head coach Chris Kelbert said that with his team turning the ball over three times in the first half, all which led to De La Salle scores, the Patriots were never able to develop any momentum on Friday afternoon.
“We knew going in that we couldn’t give them extra opportunities and that’s kind of what we did there in the first half,” he said. “Momentum never got on our side and that was one of the things that we had to do to win, to beat a team that good and it just didn’t work out for us.”
The lone score for Franklin on Friday afternoon came in the fourth quarter when running back Isaac Moore scored on a 2-yard run with 9:25 left to play.