FOOTBALL: Two is better than one at quarterback for Brother Rice during current playoff run
BIRMINGHAM – This Thanksgiving the Birmingham Brother Rice football team is giving thanks for not one, but two standout performers under center.
Since the playoffs kicked off last month, legendary Warriors head coach Al Fracassa has been keeping his opponents’ on their toes, employing a two quarterback-system to great success.
Senior and second-year starter Cheyne Lacanaria opens games, while rising-star sophomore Alex Malzone gets a solid portion of time calling signals for the Brother Rice offense as well.
The pair have both tossed touchdown passes in each of the squad’s last two wins.
Fracassa and the Warriors faithful hope the stellar play from the tandem continues for another 48 minutes of action, as Brother Rice will lock horns with Muskegon in the Division 2 state finals on Friday in hopes of pulling off the first repeat state championship in the school’s iconic history on the gridiron.
With the Warriors in peak form, responding favorably to the shift in philosophy on offense, the team is putting up 40 points per game, roughly two touchdowns more a contest compared to their output in the regular season.
“They both bring a lot to the table and we want to use as much of it as we can,” said Fracassa of his team’s late-season adjustment. “I have absolute faith in whichever guy we send out there. There’s no question they’ve been doing a super job lately.”
Last weekend in a 31-3 unhinging of Wyandotte Roosevelt in the state semifinals, Lacanaria hooked up with tight end Sergio Perkovic for a 29-yard scoring strike in the first half and Malzone connected with sophomore wide receiver Grant Perry for a 15-yard touchdown in the second half, helping highlight a balanced Brother Rice effort in the stat sheet.
No matter what happens in the state championship game on Friday, Malzone and Perry are sure to be a much-feared pass-catch duo around the area for the next two years to come.
Lacanaria is the squad’s leading passer this season, having completed 97-167 passes for 1,260 yards and seven touchdowns. Five of those touchdown throws this year have gone to his little brother, Corey Lacanaria, a junior and the Warriors’ leading receiver. Taking over full-time signal-calling duties mid-season last season, Cheyne quarterbacked the program to its eighth state crown.
Malzone quarterbacked the program’s JV team last year and is projected as a future Division I athlete in either football or baseball. Back in the spring, he started at third base on Brother Rice’s powerhouse diamond brigade that captured Catholic League and district titles.
Across the sideline from the Warriors in Friday’s state championship will be a mighty daunting quarterback in his own right; Muskegon’s Jalen Smith, a dynamic dual threat that anchors the Big Red’s offensive arsenal.