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Detroit C.C.’s defense steps up again; Shamrocks score 28 straight to top St. Mary’s

By: Dave Pemberton, October 7, 2016, 11:12 pm
ORCHARD LAKE — Detroit Catholic Central scored 28 unanswered points Friday night to defeat Catholic League rival Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 28-7.

The victory marked the fifth time this season the Shamrocks’ defense held their opponent to seven points or less.

“We feed off our defense so every time they get a shut out or hold someone down low, it boosts up everybody” Catholic Central sophomore quarterback Austin Brown said.

The Eaglets struck first Friday when RaShawn Allen punched in a 1-yard touchdown with 4:04 left in the second quarter.

Catholic Central responded when Brown found Isaiah Popp for a 53-yard touchdown pass with 1:32 left in the first half.

“We’ve been working on it all week and it wasn’t open, but my coach told me, ‘Keep looking at the corner and if he bites, Popp is going to be wide open,’ ” Brown said. “My linemen had a big pocket for me the whole game so it was less stressful.”

It was all Catholic Central from there. Senior Nicholas Capatina broke a 72-yard touchdown run, getting tackled as he crosse the goal line with 4:40 left in the third quarter.

“My offensive line did great, I had a great lead block by my fullback,” Capatina said. “Without them I couldn’t do anything. There was a cutback lane, I hit it, I had great blocking the whole time. I couldn’t have done it without my line.

“I felt him catching me, but I thought the team needed it and I was going to get it for the team.”

The Shamrocks defense then came up big when Matt Harding recovered a fumble near the 25-yard line and returned it to the 2-yard line.

Cameron Ryan punched it in on the next play to put the Shamrocks up 21-7 with 4:22 left in the third quarter.

“Our defense played very well,” Catholic Central coach Tom Mach said. “The kids, we’ve been working with them all week. And I think also offensively we held the ball for a long periods of time. I think we got the job done in all three phases for the game. (St. Mary’s) is a very difficult team to beat so we’re just happy we were able to do that.”

Capatina scored his second touchdown of the game with 6:04 left in the fourth quarter to give Catholic Central the 28-7 win.

“We beat a very, very good football team,” Mach said. “St. Mary’s is an excellent team every year, year-in and year-out. They play tough-man football. So that’s what we preached all week, play tough-man football and that’s what we had to do. It was a tough-man game today and I was really proud of our kids.

“I thought offensively (assistant coach) Mike (Mach) keep them off-balance in the first half,” Mach added. “We haven’t done a lot of that stuff before. … I think he did a good job keeping them a little bit off balance in the first half and then continued it in the second half.”

The win marked the first time Catholic Central (7-0) beat St. Mary’s in three years. The Shamrocks host Warren De La Salle on Oct. 16 before wrapping up the regular season in the Catholic League Prep Bowl at Ford Field.

“It’s big, but we can’t get too high, we can’t get too low,” Brown said of beating St. Mary’s. “We gotta come back with the same mentality and just get ready for De La Salle.”

“It feels pretty good,” Capatina said. “We have a good squad. We played hard tonight. We played as a team and we got the job done.”

The two-time defending state champion Eaglets (4-3) now have little room for error if they hope to have a shot at defending their two straight state championships.

St. Mary’s has to win its final two games to guarantee a spot in the state playoffs. The Eaglets could likely still get in at 5-4 due to strength of schedule, but nothing is guaranteed.

The Eaglets host Wheaton-Warrenville South (Ill.) on Oct. 14.