Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard senior cornerback Hayden Staub (8) deflects a pass intended for Pontiac Notre Dame Prep junior receiver Anthony Gunn early in the game Saturday afternoon. Gunn finished with a 47-yard touchdown reception in his team's loss. (For The Oakland Press/MARK McMULLEN)
FOOTBALL: Turnovers plague Notre Dame Prep against Gabriel Richard
Turnovers in the second half plagued Pontiac Notre Dame Prep as Ann Arbor Gabriel gabbed a 21-6 victory on Saturday afternoon.
“I think us winning the turnover battle probably had the biggest impact on today’s game,” Gabriel Richard head coach Brian Lemons said. “It’s a good day for us.
It's no surprise that turnovers are a momentum changer. “Everytime we’ve played these guys they’ve been well coached. It’s always came down to who makes the mistake, and then how it’s taken advantage of.”
Prep ended the game with four fumbles and one interception Prep senior quarterback turning the ball over with two fumbles and one interception in the second half. Notre Dame had one fumble in second half that was recovered by its own player in the fourth quarter.
“It’s killed us the last two weeks,” Notre Dame head coach Kyle Zimmerman said. “We’ve turned the ball over, give them short fields, (so) we’re going to lose to teams. We had eight turnovers in two games and we had one before that and we got two losses — very simple math.
The turnover story is not attributed to just one player.
“It’s not Brenden’s fault, it’s every body. It’s my fault to be honest. It’s my fault, I haven’t gotten them ready to play the last two weeks and all we can do is go from here and move forward.”
Gabriel Richard lineman Austin Kent recovered a Brenden Newvine fumble near the 30-yard line at 7:32 of the first quarter.
“It was huge,” Kent said. “The momentum is everything when you play a Notre Dame Prep game. “We’re just getting that ball back that really turned the game around and that’s what really got the ‘W’ for us. “I was so excited, it was a great feeling. To get the ball back — I knew we were going to win. I just knew it.”
It was a slow start after the first half as both teams combined for eight punts and a 0-0 score and both were held under 100 years of total offense.
Coming out of the half, Kent recorded his second fumble recovery, after Newvine lost his second fumble of the game at Gabriel Richard 1-yard line with 10:50 left of third quarter.
“It’s great, we got some guys that can make some big plays,” Lemons said. “The guys that forced the fumbles, they did awesome today.”
At 6:08 of the third quarter Newvine connected with junior receiver Anthony Gunn for a 47-yard touchdown pass. Notre Dame failed on the 2-point conversion and lead 6-0.
With 1:02 left in the third quarter Masini connected with senior receiver Evan Fosha over the middle for an 89-yard touchdown pass to give Gabriel Richard a 7-6 lead.
“(Masini) played well on both sides of the ball,” Lemon said. “I think, offensively, he really controlled the pace of play, which was really nice.“He had some good runs for us today.”
Newvine lost his third fumble with 41 seconds left in the third quarter and defensive end Dan White recovered a fumble. Gabriel Richard then marched down the field to give running back DJ Newlin a 2-yard touchdown run at the 10:47 mark of the fourth quarter to give Gabriel Richard a 14-6 lead.
Notre Dame Prep had it’s fourth turnover when running back Max Schwegman lost the ball to Gabriel Richard’s cornerback Johnny Yokum around the 40-yard line. Masini missed a field goal 5:35 after the turnover.
After a botched snap, Masini picked off Newvine at 32-yard line of Notre Dame Prep. Masini proceeded to rush up the middle on the next play for a touchdown at 4:32 of the fourth quarter to raise the lead to 21-6.
“It feels great,” Masini said. “We circle this one on the calendar every year at Notre Dame Prep. You try not to look ahead to it, but it’s on the calendar, right there. It feels good. It was a nice team win.
Masini also talked about the play. “Coach was telling me right before the play to get over top, over (receiver Anthony Gunn). We were working on that all week. We studied film and saw that, so I just did what coach told me.”
Gabriel Richard improves to 5-1 and Notre Dame Prep falls to 4-2 on the season.