Defense carries Groves past Brother Rice, 24-0, captures second district title
(PHOTO CREDIT – John Lenihan)
Beverly Hills – Most would have predicted the defenses would dominate in the Region 4 District 1 final at Birmingham Groves.
Few could have predicted Groves would be this dominant.
Groves won its first district title in school history as the Falcons shut down Birmingham Brother Rice 24-0 on Friday.
Groves held the Warriors to 151 yards, forced four turnovers and blocked a punt.
Groves (10-1) will host Grosse Pointe South (8-3) in a region final next Friday at 7 p.m.
South defeated Grosse Pointe North, 24-14, in the District 2 final.
Groves has never won a region title. Its other district title came in 2004.
The Falcons have won 20 of its last 22 games and their victory over the Warriors must be considered the most significant in school history. The last time Groves defeated Brother Rice was in 1963 (14-6). The Warriors won the next eight in the series.
Ernest Allen led Groves with 68 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Collin Heard had 81 yards and one touchdown on nine carries.
Brother Rice quarterback Mariano Valenti was 11-of-24 passing for 112 yards and three interceptions. He was sacked five times.
Groves held Brother Rice to 18 yards in the first half and led, 7-0.
Brother Rice wasted two good scoring chances in the first half as, offensively, the Warriors could do little against Groves.
Conversely, Groves went 68 yards in 13 plays on the game’s opening drive to take a 7-0 lead. Allen carries six times on the drive for 40 yards including the last four over center for the score.
Groves gained just four first downs on its last three drives of the half but its defense remained in control.
After a short punt the Warriors took over on Groves’ 40-yard line but they netted a minus 1-yard and had to punt.
Dwayne Thompson’s interception on the next series gave Brother Rice possession on its 49 with 9:10 left. The Warriors gained one first down and then on third down Ryan Flaherty intercepted for Groves with 6:15 left.
Groves gained two first downs before the Falcons punted to the Brother Rice 10-yard line and the Warriors were unable to mount a drive in the final minute.