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Churchill, Plymouth featured in KLAA showdown

By: Tom Markowski, September 17, 2014, 12:00 am


Livonia – Bill DiFillipo has always been an offensive kind of guy. He was Pat Fox’s offensive coordinator at Milford for five years and spent 10 years as the OC at Ann Arbor Huron. He had the same responsibilities at Livonia Churchill until he became head coach there last season.
Churchill averaged 45 points a game in 2012 and 26 last season. This season Churchill (3-0) is off to a fast start averaging nearly 44 points a game but its Churchill’s defense that has made the biggest improvements. This unit is no longer the weak link in the program. With Brian Alsobrooks back as the punter and place kicker, Churchill is sound in all three areas and is a serious contender for the Kensington Lakes Activities Association South Division title.
Churchill, 1-0 in the South, will host Plymouth (3-0, 1-0) in Friday at 7 p.m. with the winner taking a big step forward in the division race.
“We led Milford 52-0 after the first 18 minutes,” DiFillipo said of his team’s opener. “We played good defense then and played great defense the following week (21-14 overtime victory over Brighton). And we played well defensively in the first half last week.”
Churchill beat Glenn 51-35 last week as it allowed a number of long scoring runs.
Churchill went through a number of changes defensively last season, a season that saw Churchill give up 335 points and finish 2-7. DiFillipo said it took a while for the players to learn the system. Another reason for the improvement is, simply, Churchill has better players on that side of the ball.
“We didn’t have the players last year,” he said. “Thus year were forcing turnovers. He had five last week and our turnover margin is plus eight so far.”
Alsobrooks makes the team go. One of the top quarterbacks in the KLAA, Alsobrooks committed to Eastern Michigan and has shown this season he’s a winner. His touchdown pass late in the game against Brighton sent the game to overtime and his 10-yard touchdown run won it.
Antonio Alexander and Tim Dulin are his favorite receivers.        PICK: Churchill by 5.
All games are Friday at 7 p.m.
Birmingham Brother Rice (3-0) vs. Warren De La Salle (3-0) at Wayne State: Brother Rice took one away from De La Salle last year, 26-24. As long as Brother Rice quarterback Alex Malzone throws the ball to his receivers and not at his feet Brother Rice should be fine.         PICK: Brother Rice by 6.

Caledonia (2-1) at Muskegon Mona Shores (2-1): This O-K crossover pits teams that suffered their first loss last week. The difference is, Mona Shores’ loss was at Rockford by three points.           PICK: Mona Shores by 7.

East Kentwood (3-0) at Grandville (2-1): This is East Kentwood’s first road game, and it hasn’t played the competition that Grandville has faced.          PICK: Grandville by 4. 

Lake Orion (2-1) at Oxford (3-0): These programs, in neighboring school districts, didn’t meet on the football field from 1984-09. Lake Orion has won three of four in this series that stretches back to the 1950s. Look for Oxford to key on Lake Orion running back Matt Krause.          PICK: Oxford by 2.
Millington (3-0) at Frankenmuth (3-0): This is perhaps the best rivalry in fried chicken country. The teams split last season with Millington pulling out a 33-29 victory in a district final. The teams have split their last 12 meetings.        PICK: Millington by 1.

Rockford (3-0) at Hudsonville (3-0): These teams split the two games last season with Hudsonville winning the big one, 19-14, in a district final. Rockford won the previous six meetings.          PICK:  Rockford by 3.

St. Joseph (3-0) at Stevensville Lakeshore (3-0): This would be a rivalry game even if they played darts. No game is bigger in southwest Michigan than this one. They split last year with Lakeshore taking the second, 31-21, in a district final. They split their last 12 meetings.                PICK: Lakeshore by 3.

South Lyon (3-0) at Northville (3-0): Funny series. Northville has won the last six. South Lyon was the previous six. South Lyon lost 16-15 last season.          PICK: Northville by 9.

Wyandotte Roosevelt (3-0) at Allen Park (2-1): Allen Park was stunned last week by Woodhaven (42-35 in OT). That’s six straight for Wyandotte in this rather brief series. Allen Park won the previous seven.        PICK: Wyandotte by 5.

Last week’s record: 7-3