De La Salle im­presses in mar­quee tilt

Brother Rice held score­less in battle of top Catholic teams

The Detroit News - - Sports - BY KEVIN MOORE Spe­cial to The News

Detroit — War­ren De La Salle is com­ing off an ex­cep­tional sea­son in which it won its sec­ond state ti­tle in the last four years.

It kept on rolling Fri­day night, beat­ing Birm­ing­ham Brother Rice, 13-0, at Wayne State’s Tom Adams Field.

It was De La Salle’s third straight vic­tory af­ter drop­ping its sea­son opener to Muskegon. De La Salle (3-1, 1-0 Catholic League) won its Catholic League opener be­tween two of the top teams in the state.

De La Salle dom­i­nated on the ground, rush­ing for 165 yards as a team and hold­ing Brother Rice to just 28 rush­ing yards. The de­fense was the story for De La Salle, not al­low­ing Brother Rice to score a sin­gle point — a week af­ter Rice was com­ing off a 42point ef­fort against Wind­sor Holy Names.

“I thought de­fen­sively we played out­stand­ing, we swarmed to the ball,” De La Salle coach Mike Gian­none said. “Tonight was one of those Catholic League Cen­tral Di­vi­sion games, very low scor­ing.”

With no time­outs go­ing into the fourth quar­ter, Brother Rich had the ball with 5:30 left to play and needed an an­swer on of­fense. Ju­nior quar­ter­back Gre­gory Pis­copink con­nected with re­ceiver Matt Torey for a 25-yard gain to set up a first down in De La Salle ter­ri­tory.

But once again De La Salle’s de­fense stepped up, forc­ing Brother Rice into a turnover on downs on fourth-and-15..

Pis­copink did not have the per­for­mance he was ex­pect­ing, com­ing off a game in which he threw three touch­down passes.

Early in the sec­ond quar­ter, Brother Rice moved into De La Salle ter­ri­tory and threat­ened to put its first points on the scoreboard. Fac­ing a fourth-and-8, Brother Rice went for it. Pis­copink scram­bled out­side of the pocket as De La Salle de­fend­ers were clos­ing in on him, and as soon as Pis­copink was about to throw, the ball was knocked out of his hands and picked up by se­nior de­fen­sive line­man Michael McGin­nity for a 30-yard fum­ble re­cov­ery. That ended Brother Rice’s threat.

“We wanted to stop the pass­ing game and we did just that,” Gian­none said.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our boys.”

On De La Salle’s sec­ond drive of the game, the long ball was uti­lize by ju­nior quar­ter­back Anthony Step­nitz.

On first down, Step­nitz con­nected with DeBerry, who made a nice catch over his de­fender and broke a tackle for a 69-yard touch­down that put De La Salle up 13-0 with 2:10 left in the first.

De La Salle estab­lished the run game early in the first quar­ter. Af­ter a huge sec­ond-down com­ple­tion from Step­nitz to se­nior re­ceiver Joshua DeBerry and a big run from ju­nior run­ning back Gino Pe­lione that set up a first-and-goal, se­nior run­ning back Evan Vail­lan­court capped the drive off with a 6yard run for the first score of the game, with 5:33 left in the first.

Step­nitz left the game with eight min­utes left in the fourth with an ap­par­ent leg in­jury.

Daniel Mears/Detroit News

War­ren De La Salle’s Joshua DeBerry goes over the top of Birm­ing­ham Brother Rice’s Colin Gard­ner for a re­cep­tion, be­fore taking it into the end zone in the first quar­ter of Fri­day night’s game.

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