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FOOTBALL: St. Mary's continues to roll, cruises by De La Salle WITH VIDEO

Game Info

Football - 10/6/2012 

Warren De La Salle 0
Orchard Lake St. Mary's 35
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ST CLAIR SHORES – After opening the season with a loss to Muskegon, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s been a hard team to slow down, winning six straight games.

Two weeks ago the Eaglets (6-1, 3-0 CHSL) knocked off the defending Division 1 state champs, Detroit Cass Tech. And now with a 35-0 blowout win over Warren De La Salle, OLSM has claimed its spot in the Catholic League's Prep Bowl.

“(De La Salle) is a very good offensive team,” Orchard Lake St. Mary’s head coach George Porritt said. “Our defense really rose to the occasion, especially over the last few weeks. Our coaches are doing a great job getting those guys ready to play I was very pleased with how we held the line of scrimmage today.

“Our defensive line was very, very good, and we fed off our running backs, who have played very well all year.”

“We lost to a very good football team,” De La Salle head coach Paul Verska said. “(St. Mary’s) beat us physically and were quicker than us. We just need to tackle and block better. But most importantly, we can’t quit on each other and work hard these next few weeks.”

OLSM took control of the game right from the opening kickoff, when senior running back Parker McInnis caught the ball and returned it 42 yards to the 47. After a quick first down, the Eaglets looked to senior Grant Niemiec to gain another first down on a third-and-one. Instead, he took the ball to the end zone for a 39-yard touchdown run giving OLSM an early 7-0, just 1:34 into the game.

After the Eaglet defense forced a three-and-out from the Pilots, OLSM instead mixed up its attack from its 31-yard line.

Senior quarterback Matt Linehan threw two frozen ropes to sophomore wide receiver Van Jefferson to help move the ball back into Pilot territory. Then on a fourth-and-one from the 22 yard line, OLSM kept its drive alive with a 10-yard draw from Niemiec. Three plays later, Linehan found McInnis for a 13-yard touchdown pass that extended the lead to 14-0 with 1:11 remaining in the first quarter.

The Pilots had a drive that stalled after a huge 27-yard run by Damorria Lilly and after a long successful conversion on fourth down. When De La Salle attempted to convert another fourth down on fourth-and-four from the 18 yard line, the Eaglets stopped Giovanni Rescigno, who scrambled and was tackled a yard short of the first down marker.

On the following drive, De La Salle had a chance to block a punt on a fourth-and-three from the 44 yard line. Instead of blocking the attempt, senior Paul Graham was able to tuck the ball and run 12 yards for a first down.

The very next play, Linehan found Jefferson for a 29-yard pass to put the Eaglets on the 17 yard line. A couple of plays later, Niemiec earned his second touchdown of the game on a 4-yard run to give OLSM a 21-0 lead before the half.

Late in the third quarter after another three-and-out from De La Salle, the Eaglets focused on its running game to move the ball on the ground. After a handful of successful running plays by senior Charley Croone, OLSM found itself in the red zone. On a third-and-one from the seven yard line, Croone took the hand-off and broke through a tackle on the left side and carried a defender for a touchdown, making it 28-0 with 3:33 in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Eaglets got a 3-yard touchdown run from backup junior running back Jeff Robinson, extending the lead to 35-0 as OLSM rested its starters.

De La Salle Senior quarterback Shane Morris, who has been sidelined by mononucleosis, was on the sideline showing his leadership and support. Before the game, Morris was helping out coaches during warm-ups and game planning with Rescigno, who has replaced Morris in his absence.

After the game, Morris tweeted that he “couldn’t stand another week on the sideline.” The good news is he might not have to wait much longer.

Before the game, Morris reported that he has been back practicing with the team for over a week and is waiting to be medically cleared to participate fully with contact. The only thing holding back the U-M commit is a swollen spleen. Morris said, however, that he would be back before the end of the year.

And with just two games remaining, he’d be a welcomed sight for the Pilots (3-4), who are still fighting to get into the playoffs.

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (6-1) will travel to face Novi Detroit Catholic Central next week, while the Pilots will go on the road to try and right the ship against U-of-D Jesuit.

Last Updated: 10/7/2012 3:42:07 AM EST

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