FOOTBALL: OLSM, CC and DLS each snare important victories in Week 6, gather momentum going into last part of schedule
Traditional Catholic League Central Division football powerhouses Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Novi Detroit Catholic Central and Warren De La Salle all picked up big wins in Week 6.
In one of the most anticipated games of the year, St. Mary’s (5-1, 2-0) defeated Birmingham Brother Rice 24-14, Catholic Central (4-2, 2-0 CHSL) mauled University of Detroit-Jesuit 42-6 and De La Salle (3-3, 0-2) kept its playoff hopes alive by gaining a convincing 32-0 shutout-victory over Niagara Sports Academy of Canada.
Senior running back Grant Niemiec found the end zone on three separate occasions for St. Mary’s against Brother Rice, with two of his touchdowns serving as knockout blows in the fourth quarter. Niemiec scored from 28 yards out early in the fourth to give the Eaglets a 17-7 lead and then after Brother Rice scored to pull within a field goal, he dove in from one-yard out on a third down play with a little over two minutes remaining to polish off any thoughts of a Warriors’ comeback.
“It’s a great rivalry,” said Niemiec of the annual St. Mary’s-Brother Rice gridiron clash. “Both teams live to beat the other and that’s the way it’s always been down through history. We clamped down and converted some very important plays to close things out tonight. I’ll remember this game for a long time.”
Catholic Central also used an excellent outing from its star senior running back to claim victory on Saturday, as Anthony Darkangelo highlighted the Shamrocks’ balanced effort by scoring a pair of touchdowns – one on a 6-yard rush and the other on a 13-yard reception – and going for over 125 total yards from scrimmage. Darkangelo, in his third year starting in the backfield for Catholic Central, recorded a game-high 12 tackles as well, to spearhead a stingy Shamrocks defense.”
“He’s our iron man, just an excellent ball player in so many ways,” said longtime Catholic Central head coach Tom Mach of Darkangelo’s prowess on the football field. “We rely on him for a lot of things and he’s always more than up to the task to deliver them.”
Fellow Shamrocks seniors David Houle and Garrett Moores caused trouble for the host Cubs, too. Houle, the team’s blocking back for Darkangelo, scored two short touchdowns on the ground and Moores, Catholic Central’s senior quarterback, threw for 105 yards on 5-of-6 pass attempts.
“We dominated,” stated a blunt Darkangelo after the game. “This was our kind of football game, down and dirty.”
Behind three touchdown runs by Darkangelo and some key field goals and completions by Moores, the Shamrocks upended De La Salle, 31-30 in overtime last week, forcing the Pilots’ into do-or-die mode in the win column for the rest of the season.
So far, so good.
Just like Catholic Central and St. Mary’s, De La Salle got a monster performance from its star running back. Damorria Lilly rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns in the Pilot’s shutout.
Since a Week 4 loss at the hands of Brother Rice, De La Salle has been without its all-state quarterback, Michigan-commit Shane Morris, out for the rest of the season with mono, but hasn’t appeared phased, playing inspired football the past two weeks. With back-up signal caller Giovanni Rescigno stepping into Morris’ role running the Pilots offense, De La Salle is averaging over 30 points per game.
Next week, St. Mary’s and De La Salle square off and Catholic Central and Brother Rice go at in a pair of crucial Week 7 match-ups.
Both St. Mary’s (Division 3) and Brother Rice (Division 2) are defending state champions. Mach and his Shamrocks are defending CHSL-Central champions and holders of the crown for two of the past three campaigns.