Brother Rice scores late, retains Catholic title
Detroit – Grant Perry caught just about everything quarterback Alex Malzone threw his way on Saturday night at Ford Field including the game-winning conversion.
Malzone threw four touchdown passes, all to Perry, the last from nine yards out with 24 seconds left to bring Birmingham Brother Rice to within 28-27 of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. The Warriors elected to go for the victory and not attempt to send the game into overtime. After a St. Mary’s time out Malzone completed the conversion pass to Perry giving top-ranked Brother Rice the lead and the Warriors went on to defeat the Eaglets 35-28 in the Catholic League A-B Division final.
Brother Rice also won the title last season and the Warriors were also the last team to repeat as league champion (2006-07).
Brother Rice took a 7-0 lead on the game’s first drive. Malzone completed all four of his attempts on the 75-yard drive, the last two to Perry, one for 49 yards and the last from 21 yards out the touchdown.
St. Mary’s (7-2), which won the title in 2012, controlled the rest of the first half and led 21-14.
The Eaglets scored touchdowns on all three of its possessions and its wishbone offense grounded out three, four, five yards at a pop and quarterback Brendan Tabone found holes in the secondary. Tabone was 10-for-11 passing for 109 yards and two touchdowns in the half including a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Nathan Fagnani with six seconds left that gave St. Mary’s that 21-14 lead.
A fourth down stop when St. Mary’s needed a yard with 6:38 remaining proved pivotal for the Warriors. Brother Rice took over on its 32-yard line and four plays later Malzone’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Perry tied the game at 21-21 with 5:16 left.
Less than three minutes later St. Mary’s took a 28-21 lead on Brandon Adams’ 3-yard touchdown run.
With 2:22 remaining the Warriors started their final drive on their 22 and Malzone worked his team down the field as he completed all seven of his attempts for 81 yards, the last nine to Perry.
Brother Rice scored its final touchdown on a fumble return on the last play of the game.
Malzone completed 21 of 27 attempts for 271 yards and one interception, his third of the season. Perry had 12 receptions for 201 yards.
For St. Mary’s Tabone was 14-20 for 181 yards and Tyson Smith had seven receptions for 89 yards.