The Macomb Daily

Leaders: Seniors ‘leave their mark’ as Pilots plays for another state title

- By George Pohly gpohly@medianewsg­ @gpohly on Twitter

Dan Rohn feels a special kinship with the De La Salle Collegiate seniors.

Players like Brady Drogosh and Mason Muragin were in the ninth grade when Rohn was hired to be the Pilots’ football coach.

His arrival from the west side of the state came after De La Salle forfeited its first 2019 playoff game because of hazing allegation­s at the private school.

On Friday, Rohn’s third season as coach will end with the Pilots making a third consecutiv­e appearance in the state Division 2 championsh­ip game, this time against undefeated Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central at Ford Field.

“It’s been extremely special since I got here,” Rohn said as the Pilots prepared for what they hope will be a fifth state championsh­ip and second during his tenure.

“These seniors stayed through everything that happened, and then they got a new coach and they bought into everything that we were doing.”

Rohn wants the seniors to be rewarded with a championsh­ip to match the one they captured in 2021.

“I think it’s something I owed them because of their commitment to the school and the community,” he said. “This group is definitely going to leave their mark, and I’m just fortunate to be a part of it.”

Rohn’s Grand Rapids West Catholic teams won four state championsh­ips from 2010-15.

His Pilots have won at a comparable rate.

De La Salle closed Rohn’s first season by winning five of six games, the defeat coming against Muskegon Mona Shores in the state final.

Last year, with Drogosh entrenched as the starting quarterbac­k, the Pilots went 13-0.

De La Salle’s only loss this year was by one point to Brother Rice, and the Pilots have won nine games in a row. They are 25-1 since the start of the 2021 campaign.

“This is a real mature group,” Rohn said as the Pilots embarked on a week of indoor practices. “We’ve got some kids that have played a lot of football games — some who have played more than 40.

“They understand what it takes. They want to finish on a high note.”

Drogosh, who has 7,784 career total yards with 102 touchdowns passing and rushing, has committed to Cincinnati. He’ll enroll early at the school that is joining the Big 12 Conference in 2023.

The 6-foot-4 Muragin, a three-year starter, has 14.5 sacks this season and 29.5

for his career. The defensive end has committed to Illinois.

Their classmates include Triston Nichols, who has 17 career touchdown receptions; Jack Yanachik, a three-year starter with 87 receptions; lineman Dante Pancotto, a two-year starter; Sherron Sutton II, a reliable kick returner and receiver; defensive back Jamari Allen, who has committed to Central Michigan, and linebacker Griffin Phillips, a four-year varsity player.

Drogosh and Muragin, Rohn said, are “exactly what you want in your leaders.”

“They don’t ever take anything for granted,” Rohn added. “Every day, they are two of our hardest-working practice players, and younger kids follow that.”

A victory over Forest Hills Central would give De La Salle five championsh­ips since the Pilots won their first in 2014.

“We’re starting to build a dynasty,” Muragin said. “That’s the mark I want to leave here. The only way to do that is to go out on top like last year.

“Winning one state championsh­ip is hard enough, but going back to back and winning two is almost unheard-of. I care about the future of this school. I love the program, the whole community.”

De La Salle is one of five Macomb County schools that have won state championsh­ips.

The others were Warren Woods, Chippewa Valley, Dakota and Romeo.

Finals at Ford Field


Division 8 — 10 a.m.

• Ubly vs. Ottawa Lake Whiteford

Division 2 — 1 p.m.

• De La Salle Collegiate

vs. Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central

Division 6 — 4:30 p.m.

• Negaunee vs Grand Rapids West Catholic

Division 4 — 7:30 p.m.

• Goodrich vs. Grand Rapids South Christian


Division 7 — 10 a.m.

• Traverse City St. Francis vs. Jackson Lumen Christi

Division 1 — 1 pm

• Caledonia vs. Belleville

Division 5 — 4:30 p.m.

• Gladwin vs. Frankenmut­h

Division 3 — 7:30 p.m.

• Muskegon vs. Detroit King

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