De La Salle impresses in marquee tilt
Brother Rice held scoreless in battle of top Catholic teams
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.
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.