Birmingham Brother Rice took the first step towards a Division 2 state championship four-peat with a methodical 38-21 victory over Warren Cousino in a pre-district playoff football game played Saturday afternoon at Hurley Field in Berkley.
The Warriors rolled to a 31-0 halftime lead and hiked the margin to 38-0 midway through the fourth quarter against their Macomb County foes. The Patriots, who qualified for the state tournament with a 5-4 record, tallied the game’s final three touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Alex Malzone had a hand in four of Rice’s five touchdowns, throwing for three and running in from a yard out for the other. The University of Michigan commit tossed TD passes to Brandon Thomas (10 yards) and John Garry (8 and 4 yards).
Rice’s other scores were a 1-yard run by Bobby Dixon III and a 30-yard field goal by Alex Nast.
Cousino’s touchdowns were scored by Steven Charles, Jr. (3-yard run), Matt Jolliffe (28-yard pass from Zach Schulte) and Kerry Debose, Jr. (63-yard run).
Rice had 197 total yards of offense, led individually by Dixon III’s 110 yards on 15 carries. Malzone completed 13-25 passes for 143 yards. Grant Perry caught five passes for 56 yards to lead the team in receiving.
Defensively, Rice linebacker John Lockwood had one interception. Joe Lewandowski and Jack Dunaway each had sacks and Rubin Williams led the Warriors with six tackles.
Undefeated (10-0) and No. 1-ranked Brother Rice will now host Birmingham Groves (7-3) in the Division 2 district championship game next weekend at Hurley Field in Berkley. The Warriors enter with a 32-game winning streak which dates back to Sept. 28 of 2012.
Groves advanced to the district title game with a 35-13 triumph over Berkley in another pre-district game played on Saturday. Groves lost to neighboring Brother Rice in a pre-district game last year, 42-0.