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Revisiting His Past: Talk About Déjà Vu!

By: Scott Burnstein, November 5, 2015, 11:43 pm

Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook football coach Joe D’Angelo will be watching a ghost play quarterback Saturday afternoon for his club’s opponents, his former Birmingham Detroit Country Day Yellowjackets, in what is sure to be an emotional D4 district final. Not only are the ‘Jackets coached by Dan MacLean, D’Angelo’s protégé, they are led into battle under center by Steve Mann, Jr., the son of D’Angelo’s former all-state wide receiver Steve Mann, Sr., one of MacLean’s assistants. Mann, Jr. is just as dynamic on the football field as his pops was, practically a spitting image – can you say ghosts of gridiron past?

Mann Sr. caught the game winning touchdown as time expired in DCD’s victory over Muskegon Catholic Central in the 1986 state championship game, the first of D’Angelo’s two state crowns. Last year on DCD’s final four squad, Mann Jr. was an all-state split end before switching to his current role as quarterback this season (he started a few games last fall in relief of an injured David Pohl).

“It’s eerie seeing Steve Mann out there, making plays, making people miss, it’s like flashing back three decades ago when his dad played for me and was doing the same thing,” D’Angelo said.

D’Angelo coached DCD from 1977-1997. He came out of retirement four years ago and was named Cranbrook head coach in 2013. The Cranes made the playoffs after a nine-year absence last season. They won only the second postseason game in program history last week, popping SCS South Lake 35-14.

Both Cranbrook and DCD are 9-1 as they are set to resume a once-anticipated annual private-school pigskin rivalry last played in 1995.

Mann, Jr. is an all-state baseball player, too and committed to continue his career on the diamond in college in the ACC at Duke University. Mann, Sr. played college football at the University of Wyoming.