FOOTBALL: Brian Walker and Brother Rice Roll Detroit King 43-20, Sets Up Rematch With Muskegon
DETROIT – Even Steven Spielberg couldn’t have written this script about Brother Rice football.
In 51 years of existence, Brother Rice has only had three losing seasons, to go along with eight state titles, and are favorites to win it all again.
The Warriors punched their ticket to a third straight Division 2 state final with a 43-20 win over Detroit King today. In head coach Al Fracassa’s final season, he said there is no better feeling.
"I didn’t know if we were going to make it," said Fracassa on reaching the state finals once again. "But it’s really nice and this is our third year in a row, and we’re happy and excited about playing in a warm place next time."
The freezing weather may have played into Brother Rice’s favor, as they controlled the line of scrimmage, and were able to run the ball early and often on King.
Senior running back Brian Walker switched back to his original No.28 for this game, and played like a certain player named Adrian Petersen, who shares the same number.
After forcing King into a three and out on their first possession, Brother Rice capped of an eight play, 52 yard drive with a 7-yard run from Walker for the early 6-0 lead.
A short punt by King on their next possession gave Brother Rice great field position, and Walker’s name was called again.
Three plays after the drive started, Walker shook off several tacklers on his way to a 36-yard score. Brother Rice now led 12-0 with 5:28 left in the first.
King’s offense was pretty much stagnant throughout the first half, due to the play of the Warriors defense.
Senior linebacker Jack Grissan picked off King quarterback James Speight (12-20, 164 yards, 2 touchdowns) and returned it to the 11-yard line. Four plays later on a fourth and one call on the 1-yard line, Walker pushed the pile inside the end zone for his third rushing touchdown of the quarter.
"We said field position would win us the game, and it helped out a lot," Walker said. "This win is for coach Fracassa, and that’s who we’re doing it for. Hopefully he goes out with a win next week."
"This whole year has been about winning for Fracassa, and that’s what we’re trying to do."
Walker added another touchdown in the second quarter, and finished with 95 yards on 16 carries and four touchdowns.
King finally got on the board in the second half, when Brother Rice kick returner Grant Perry fumbled on the 37-yard line. With good field position King was able to take advantage, when running back RJ Mitchell scored from 11-yards out to make it 26-8 with 11:22 left in the third.
In a crazy sequence late in the quarter, a total of three touchdowns were scored between the two. After Brother Rice went up 33-8 on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Alex Malzone to Corey Lacanaria with :43.6 seconds left, King responded just two plays later.
Speight and Iowa commit Jalen Embry (10 catches, 151 yards, 2 touchdowns) hooked up for their first of two touchdowns on the day, on a 13- yard pass with 1.3 seconds left on the clock. That was short lived when Brother Rice opened the fourth quarter with a 55-yard bomb from Malzone to Lacanaria, to make it 40-14 with 11:49 remaining.
Malzone finished 11-21, for 181 yards and two touchdowns.
In the state semifinal game between the two schools in 2011, Brother Rice jumped off to a 27-0 lead in the first half, before King came storming back in the second to fall 27-26.
That wouldn’t happen in this game as Brother Rice added a 26-yard field goal in the fourth, and went on to win 43-20.
The Warriors will face Muskegon again next Friday at Ford Field in a rematch of last year’s Division 2 state final, which Brother Rice won 35-28.
"To finish my career with three straight seasons of 14 games is pretty good," Fracassa said. "I don’t care who we play, I’m just worried about my boys."