In Play with Tom Markowski


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Luke Pfromm returns to football, leads De La Salle to Friday’s Division 2 final against Livonia Franklin

By: Tom Markowski, November 19, 2017, 4:42 pm

Warren – A year ago Luke Pfromm didn’t give much thought to playing football. Now it consumes him.

Pfromm, 18, has started all 13 games at quarterback for coach Mike Giannone at Warren De La Salle and Pfromm is perhaps the most unlikely star of the 2017 season.

Pfromm will again be the starting quarterback on Friday when De La Salle (11-2) plays Livonia Franklin (11-2) for the Division 2 title at Ford Field at 1 p.m.

Pfromm played basketball and football his freshman and sophomore seasons at De La Salle then decided, between his sophomore and junior years, to give up football so he could concentrate on basketball. At the time it seemed like a good idea. Pfromm was receiving interest from college coaches for basketball and he thought that he needed to hone his skills more by spending more of his time in the gym.

Unbeknownst to Pfromm is how much he would miss football. After all, he had given up playing baseball competitively after eighth grade so he could concentrate on two sports. So giving up football to play just one sport wasn’t that much of a difference. The thought process was, he would become a better basketball player, earn a scholarship and play basketball in college. Pfromm is 6-foot-6. He’s a shooting guard. Why not concentrate on basketball?

Things change. There’s an allure to play two or more sports. Your friends, some of whom don’t play basketball, play football. Your time in high school goes by quickly. Opportunities pass by quickly, too.

With a little nudge from his football buddies Pfromm had second thoughts. Following De La Salle’s loss to Troy in a Class A regional final last March Pfromm took some time off away from basketball, went to a local field and started throwing a football around with some of his friends.

The urge came back. Pfromm rediscovered his passion for football. It came on slowly then it hit him like a linebacker on a blitz. He was going to play football his senior year because of one important, sometimes forgotten, reason. It’s fun.

Pfromm comes from a football family. The eldest Pfromm male, Matt, played linebacker at Roseville in the mid-200s and went on to play at Olivet. The second boy, Todd, was an-all Macomb County lineman at Warren Cousino and helped the Patriots reach a Division 1 semifinal where they lost to Macomb Dakota, 21-0, a team coached by Giannone.

Naturally, his family hoped Pfromm would return to football but the big push came from his classmates. Think for a second. If you’re playing football and a buddy of yours used to play football, played quarterback for a number of years, and he’s 6-6 and weighs 220 pounds, wouldn’t you try to convince your friend to return to the field?

Three of Pfromm’s classmates and members of the football team, Brendan Madigan, Jake Badalamenti and Nick Bohn, did just that.

“Towards the end of the basketball season, they were giving me hints,” Pfromm said. “They kept saying, ‘you’re going to play, right? You’re going to play’. Brendan really pushed it. We were at a field near our houses and I was throwing passes to him. That was in March. I was thinking, this is fun. I was thinking maybe I would have lost it. It felt good. It felt right. It felt like I needed to come back.

“Probably the worst decision I’ve made was not to play my junior year. The best decision I made was coming back.”

The position was given to him. Pfromm had to earn it and it wasn’t until less than a week before the opener against Lowell did Giannone name Pfromm as the starting quarterback.

It was a rough opener, not only for Pfromm but for the entire team. Lowell whipped De La Salle, 36-6. Pfromm was 4-of-9 passing for 42 yards and one interception. It wasn’t the debut he had planned.

“We didn’t want a repeat of last season (De La Salle was 4-5),” Pfromm said. “We worked really hard for that game. To basically come out and get embarrassed (showed) we weren’t ready. Afterwards it was like, OK, this is reality. We’ve been underdogs all year since, except for the districts. We just stuck together.”

And Pfromm got better. He became more comfortable. He wasn’t pleased not only with his performance against Lowell, he wasn’t pleased with the lack of leadership he displayed.

The next week De La Salle went to Grandville, a top 25 team, and whipped the Bulldogs, 31-0. It was like someone flipped a switch. It was off for the Lowell game and it’s been on ever since.

The Pilots had impressive victories over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Birmingham Brother Rice and Dearborn Divine Child, and finished the regular season with back-to-back victories over Detroit Catholic Central.  In the second Catholic Central game, at Ford Field, in the Catholic League title game, Pfromm threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-14 victory.

In last Saturday’s 14-13 victory over two-time defending state champion Detroit King, Pfromm scored on a 1-yard sneak and was 5 of 6 passing for 77 yards and one touchdown. Giannone hasn’t asked Pfromm to throw a lot, just to be efficient.

For the season Pfromm is 78-of-140 for 1,546 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. He’s also rushed for 11 touchdowns.

Scholarship offers haven’t come in waves but he has received a couple, one from Siena Heights and the other from Ava Maria University in Florida.

Pfromm said he will play basketball this season and it’s entirely possible he will play basketball in college. But at this moment, this week, he’s all about De La Salle football and winning what would be the school’s third football state title.

“It hasn’t hit me yet,” he said. “The last two games (Oak Park and King) could have gone either way. When I go to school (on Monday) it’ll sink in with everyone talking about it.

“We’ve come a long way. It’s awesome. It feels great.”