Select a Sport:
Select a School:
PLAYOFF FOOTBALL: McGregor leads Truman to win (PHOTOS)
Deonte McGregor was a huge part of Truman's playoff win over Allen Park Friday. He scored four touchdowns and stopped an Allen Park scoring drive with an interception in the end zone. Photo by Dave Chapman
Truman's defense was too much for Nick Berrelez and the Allen Park Jaguars. Photo by Dave Chapman
The Cougars found themselves up against Allen Park for the second consecutive year in the first round of the MHSAA state playoffs and once again ended the Jags’ season, handing them a 36-19 loss.
It was a team effort all night long, but the Cougars sure were thankful for Devonte McGregor.
The senior running back dominated the field, ran in four touchdowns and made arguably the two biggest plays of the game.
Allen Park put itself back in the game after an early 22-0 deficit.
Early in the fourth, the Jags were only down by 11 points and with three minutes to go started making their way down the field.
Five plays set up a second-and-goal on the six-yard line and Fulton tossed one to the end zone, straight to McGregor.
It was a big turning point for the Cougars, but McGregor wasn’t done.
The Cougars were on a second-and-10 on the 21 when McGregor broke free and ran the distance; a 79-yard score that sealed the deal and advanced the Cougars to next Friday’s district final.
Things were eerily similar to last season. A year ago, the Cougars were ahead 8-0 with just over a minute gone by, scored on their first two drives and used two interceptions and two long touchdowns to win the game.
This year, the Cougars were up 8-0 with just over a minute gone by, scored on their first three drives and used one long touchdown and five interceptions to seal the deal.
“They were huge,” Coach Eric Stiegel said about the interceptions. “We tell our kids, you need the ball to score.
“Obviously we held on to the ball a little bit more tonight, although we did have a turnover. That was probably the biggest factor of the game was the turnovers and takeaways. That was the biggest part of the game.”
Allen Park Coach Tom Hoover echoed Stiegel’s thoughts.
“Turnovers. That was the difference tonight,” he said. “You can’t go to the second round of the playoffs with five turnovers.”
Truman made things look easy in the first half, running away with a 22-0 lead.
McGregor scored the first two of the game in the first four and a half minutes for a 14-0 advantage. The second was set up when Donovin Rubens intercepted a Nick Fulton pass.
The Cougars struck again after Quinn Wurmlinger sacked and the Jags were forced to punt.
Truman got the ball back and used a seven-minute drive that dragged into the second quarter. The fifteen play drive was capped by Clarence Massey’s one-yard push for a 22-0 game.
The Jags had had enough and capitalized on the next drive.
A quick recovery of their own fumble and a 29-yard advantage down the field after a toss from Fulton to Jake Barann help set up the score.
Manny Andrade capped the drive by leaping over a pile of Cougars for a two-yard touchdown and Allen Park was on the board.
The Jags quickly got the ball back when Richard Gamble recovered an onside kick, but two incomplete throws and the second intercepted of the night, gave possession back to Truman.
Devontae McCuien got the interception and the Cougars used another long drive to add to the scoreboard.
The 6 ˝-minute and 14-play drive was highlighted by Massey’s 17-yard rush down the field. The drive ended with McGregor’s third of the night, a six-yard rush up the right and McCuien’s rush up the left for the two-point conversion put the Cougars ahead 30-7.
One more interception before the half by Tyler Davis gave Truman the ball back once again, but time ran out and score stood through the first 24 minutes.
The second half got interesting as the Jags started to make a game of things.
To start the half, Allen Park ate up over four minutes of the clock on an 11 play drive that saw Nate Berrelez finish with a 10-yard score for a 30-13 game.
Truman had to punt and the Jags started making their way back down the field. Fulton tossed 24 yards to Antonio Reviere, but another interception just after by McCuien gave the Cougars the ball right back.
Truman played into the final quarter and turned the ball over on downs on a fourth-and-two.
Allen Park took advantage and capitalized with a one-yard sneak from
Berrelez for the 30-19 game.
Truman fumbled, Allen Park threw an incomplete pass to the end zone, Truman punted, McGregor intercepted and the game was pretty much in the books.
After McGregor’s last touchdown, Allen Park’s Hunter Rubley had a long kickoff return to the 19-yard line, but the clock ran out and the Cougars advanced.
Stiegel knew the second half was a tough one after the big lead.
“I thought we came out well and kind of asserted ourselves early and did some good things,” he said. “Our defense came out with some big plays.
“(But) I knew that they would adjust. They were playing us tough. We really kind of grinded them in the first half a little bit.
“They’re a good team and I was expecting that we wouldn’t sputter as much in the second half, but they did a good job. I don’t know if we were complacent or what, but they did a good job in the second half.”
The Cougars were led by McGregor with 159 yards on 18 carries. Massey finished with 68 yards on 18 carries, Rubens had 55 yards on two carries and McCuien added 49 yards on six carries.
For the Jags, Fulton was 14-for-31 in the air for 213 yards and five interceptions.
On the ground, Berrelez led with 63 yards and Andrade added 30.
Jake Barann had 8 receptions for 123 yards. On the defensive side of things, Adam McJunkin led with 15 tackles and Dylan Romo had 10 tackles and a fumble recovery.
When all was said and done, Hoover was disappointed with the loss, but pleased with his team’s year that included a five-game winning streak at the end.
“We had a good year,” he said. “I’m proud of my kids. They didn’t quit in the second half (and) I’m blessed to have coached them.”
Stiegel was more than pleased with his squad and McGregor’s efforts were not lost on him.
“He’s a great player,” he said. “He’s the best player I’ve ever coached; he’s the best kid probably I’ve ever coached.
“He’s selfless, he doesn’t care about stats or anything. He’s just a great kid and he’s a football coach’s dream.”
McGregor showed it after the game.
“It felt great,” he said about the win. “My lineman did great (and) the defense made some great plays at the end of the game.
“It just feels great moving on to round two. I told the team play smart, play hard and finish the game.”
The win sets up another rematch of last year and the Cougars turn to Roosevelt in the district finals. The importance of the game will not be lost on anyone.
“We’re excited to get our rematch,” McGregor said. “Two years in a row. We need it.”
The two teams met just two weeks ago and Roosevelt handed Truman its second loss of the season so the Cougars are ready for the rematch.
“We’re excited because we get a chance to play another really great team,” Stiegel said. “They’ve got a great coaching staff that just has done a great job over there.
“So now we’ve gotta see if we can take that next step and knock them off the Dowrniver throne.”
Last Updated: 11/2/2013 12:28:45 PM EST