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FOOTBALL: Brother Rice sizzles vs. St. Ignatius, snares 'W' in Fracassa's final opener WITH VIDEO

Game Info

Football - 8/31/2013 

Birmingham Brother Rice 29
Cleveland St. Ignatius 20
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DETROIT – Birmingham Brother Rice looked in mid-season form on the football field Saturday afternoon in its border-battle with Cleveland St. Ignatius at Wayne State to open the 2013 campaign, making a loud statement with its play on offense, defense and special teams.

Getting legendary Warriors head coach Al Fracassa’s final year on the sidelines off on the right foot, Brother Rice pounced on the Buckeye State superpower early and never let up on its way to an impressive 29-20 victory on the last day of the annual Prep Kickoff Classic.

Fracassa, the winningest coach on the gridiron in MHSAA history, was pleased following the win, fast to praise his club’s stellar performance.

“You enjoy games like this because they don’t come along too often,” he said. “We were rolling from the start and I think we did a good job of keeping them (St. Ignatius) off balance. Across the board we got lots of strong individual efforts. These guys knew the magnitude of this match-up and surely played like it the whole afternoon. I’m very proud.”

When asked to comment on his feelings regarding Saturday being the last season-opener of his storied five-decade career, Fracassa flashed a smirk.

“I definitely feel a lot younger after the way we played,” he said.

Brother Rice controlled the entire game, dominating time of possession and imposing its will on its opponents throughout.

Junior quarterback Alex Malzone and the Warriors’ high-powered passing game were making sweet music against the St. Ignatius secondary, stretching the field at every opportunity.

Malzone threw for 285 yards (25-of-35 attempts) with a completion-percentage over the 70 percent mark.

"We all knew this was a big game and everyone stepped up to the task," he said. "Hopefully, we'll keep all the confidence we get from this win moving forward into the rest of the season."

His 17-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Damaris Woods gave the Warriors a 7-0 lead at the 2:06 mark of the first quarter.

Corey Lacanaria and Grant Perry both went over the century plateau for Brother Rice’s offense, as Lacanaria caught 10 balls for 157 yards and Perry nine for 105 yards. Perry had eight catches in the first half alone.

Versatile senior Jason Alessi guided the defense and special teams, booting two field goals (31, 40) and three extra-points, returning a punt 70 yards for a touchdown on the Warriors' opening possession of the second half and posting a team-high five tackles from his spot in the secondary.

The Warriors were on top 27-6 entering the fourth quarter.

St. Ignatius (11 state titles in Ohio), playing short its normal starting quarterback, - out with an injury suffered in a scrimmage last week -, put together a late flurry and pulled to within a touchdown, 27-20, on a 4-yard scoring run by Mike Vitale with 2:06 left.

Forcing a Brother Rice punt, St. Ignatius got the ball back with a minute on the clock and had hope.

That hope was quickly dashed by an active Warriors' defensive front. In a blink of an eye, Brother Rice clinched the victory with Jack Dunaway and Alberto Sandoval sacking St. Ignatius’s quarterback in the end zone for a safety.

Running back Brian Walker rambled for a team-high 75 yards on 16 carries and a 1-yard touchdown trot in the second quarter, heading the Warriors' rushing attack.


SI 0 6 7 7 - 20

BR 7 10 10 2 - 29


Brother Rice - Damaris Woods 18 pass from Alex Malzone (Jason Alessi kick)

Brother Rice - Brian Walker 1 run (Alessi kick)

St. Ignatius - Mike Siragusa 80 pass from John Thomas (kick failed)

Brother Rice - Alessi 31 fg

Brother Rice - Alessi 70 punt return

Brother Rice - Alessi 40 fg

St. Ignatius - Nick Fabian 80 pass from Thomas (Matt Collea kick)

St. Ignatius - Mike Vitale 4 run (Collea kick)

Brother Rice - Jack Dunaway and Alberto Sandoval safety

RECORDS - Brother Rice 1-0; St. Ignatius 0-1

Last Updated: 9/3/2013 4:27:05 AM EST

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