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Birmingham Brother Rice took trips into the end zone in several different manners Friday vs. Toledo St. Johns, one of which was Shon Powell (pictured here in a game last year), scoring a touchdown on the ground in the Warriors 49-7 trouncing. (Oakland Press photo file)


CHSL GRID NOTEBOOK: St. Mary's makes successful shift on offense, Rice shows versatility, CC's Van Acker impresses

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The issue was corrected fast.

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s wasn’t afraid to scrap the original game-plan at quarterback for the 2013 football season when it appeared early on that the Eaglets would be better suited with their intended starter under center at wide receiver as a deep threat.

St. Mary’s head coach George Porritt has given the nod to original back-up field general, junior Evan Henry, in favor of junior Tyson Smith, the starter calling signals in the Eaglets’ Week 1 25-20 loss Oak Park at the Prep Kickoff Classic.

The decision to change quarterbacks paid quick dividends, as St. Mary’s traveled to Ohio in Week 2 to square off with Buckeye State prep juggernaut Toledo Whitmer in a dire early-season affair and came back to Michigan with a desperately-important 10-3 victory.

Smith is a Division I college recruit as a defensive back and wide out. He has already been offered by Michigan State. He showed his playmaking skills as only a sophomore, starting for the Eaglets last year on both sides of the ball on a Catholic League Central Division title team that advanced into the Division 3 state championship game.

Against Whitmer Friday, Henry, who took over in the second half of Week 1, found Smith for a 20-yard touchdown pass that proved the difference on the scoreboard in the end.

Henry looked steady in the pocket throwing down field in his quarter and a half of action in the Oak Park game, obviously giving Porritt and his staff faith in the choice to switch.

Porritt knows how to use quarterbacks. The track record speaks for itself; he's led St. Mary’s into the state finals in five of the past six seasons using four different signal-callers.

Matt Linehan, last year’s starter, is playing in college at the University of Idaho.

Four square

Two-time defending Division 2 state champion Birmingham Brother Rice is giving it to opponents from all angles. The Warriors scored touchdowns four separate ways on Friday in its 49-7 ransacking of Toledo St. Johns to go 2-0 in legendary head coach Al Fracassa’s final season on the sidelines.

Fracassa's club scored via a rushing score by senior jitterbug Shon Powell, two passing scores by cannon-armed junior Alex Malzone (one to Damaris Woods and one to Josh Flye) and one apiece on an interception and a kickoff return.

Senior linebacker Shaun Jones took a pick back 52 yards to the end zone in the first quarter and senior Jason Alessi returned a kickoff 96 yards for a score in the second half. Alessi has returned either a kickoff or a punt for a touchdown in each of Brother Rice’s two wins. He had a 70-yard punt return for a score in the Warriors’ opening-week downing of Cleveland St. Ignatius.

You didn’t know, Jack, now you do!

Prior to this past weekend, Novi Detroit Catholic Central senior Jack Van Acker was known for his prowess with a lacrosse stick in his hands.

His two-interception effort in the defensive backfield for the Shamrocks state-power football squad Saturday in Catholic Central’s 35-13 crushing of Chicago Simeon Saturday in front of the home crowd has gone a long way to altering his reputation in the local prep sports scene.

Now, he’s not just one of the area's most tenacious lacrosse players, he's also one of Oakland County's top performers in the secondary on the gridiron.

Out last season as a junior with an injury, Van Acker got coaches with the Shamrocks buzzing about his potential on the football field by displaying his natural instinct and relentless motor.

He returned his second-quarter interception for a touchdown on Saturday.

Last Updated: 9/10/2013 12:43:15 PM EST

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