The Oakland Activities Association White Division is all upside down on the football field.
Almost halfway through the season, perennial OAA White frontrunners Farmington Hills Harrison, Rochester Adams and Southfield are all looking up at Oak Park and Farmington in the standings.
Boasting identical 4-0 overall records and 3-0 marks in league play, Oak Park and Farmington sit tied atop the standings entering their Week 5 clash with sole possession of first place on the line.
Oak Park, which hasn’t qualified for the playoffs in seven years, hit the road in Week 4 and knocked off Southfield, 24-18, in overtime courtesy of a 1-yard touchdown run by Mario Morris, the Knights’ star linebacker that also doubles as the team’s fullback. Morris transferred to Oak Park from Detroit Community in the spring and his game-winning score against Southfield came on his lone carry of the contest.
Farmington hosted Oxford in Week 4 and pulled out an exciting 19-13 win in overtime. Undeterred by losing their starting quarterback and starting all-league running back to injuries, the Falcons resiliently fought through the adversity to keep their record unblemished.
Senior Connor Mohr was a force of nature on both sides of the ball for Farmington in the resounding victory.
Subbing for Jordan Degreffenreed, who went out with a foot sprain early in the third quarter, Mohr took over primary ball-carrier duties for the Falcons and scored three touchdowns on the ground, including the game-winner in overtime from three yards out.
On defense, he made 13 tackles from his middle linebacker spot and energized his team with his leadership and smart play calling.
With senior signal-caller Troy Mitchell out with a concussion, sophomore backup field general, Kyle Collins, stepped into the Falcons’ starting quarterback job and looked solid in the win.
Harrison, the White’s two-time defending champion, is 3-1 overall and 2-1 in league play. Adams has raised more league championship banners — eight — than any other school in OAA history.
Southfield is 2-2 overall, 2-1 in the White, having lost both their league games in down-to-the-wire contests.
Grooving and moving
Birmingham Brother Rice senior football star Cheyne Lacanaria has been in a zone on the gridiron lately. The Warriors’ second-year starting quarterback went six and a half quarters straight without an incompletion, going 15-of-15 between Week 3 and Week 4, in helping guide Brother Rice to back-to-back blowout wins. In the team’s 42-24 victory over Toledo St. Francis De Sales in Week 3, he went a flawless 9-for-9.
Then in the Warriors’ 28-0 defeat of Warren De La Salle in Week 4, he opened up the game 6-for-6 before an interception in the middle of the third quarter ended the streak.
Lacanaria quarterbacked Brother Rice to a Division 2 state title last year as a junior and is one of the state’s most improved players this fall.
Willing it to the limit
Holly’s Johnny Williams and Birmingham Groves’ Ross Williams were both killing it on the prep football field in Week 4.
Johnny Williams, a senior all-league quarterback, led Holly to its first win of the season, finding the end zone five times in four separate ways in the Bronchos’ 49-13 bashing of Clio. The third-year starter threw a 67-yard touchdown pass, ran in a pair of long touchdown sprints (50, 72 yards respectively) and took back kickoff and punt returns for scores (85 yards and 60 yards respectively) on special teams.
Ross Williams, a fast-rising junior burner in the backfield for Groves, ran for 232 yards - the most on the ground in Oakland County this year - and three touchdowns in the Falcons 38-33 loss at the hands of Hazel Park.
Last year, as a sophomore, he started in the secondary on Groves’ league championship-winning team on the gridiron in the fall and was a state-finalist hurdler in track and field in the spring.
Quote of the week
“It’s a mighty pretty site, isn’t it?,” remarked a smirking Dave Muczynski, Auburn Hills Avondale’s boys soccer coach, while displaying his 2011 state championship ring to a throng of reporters after his team downed Groves, 5-3, on the pitch Thursday night.