It was good old-fashioned smash-mouth football for host Sterling Heights Stevenson Friday night.
Led by the likes of 6-foot-4, 330-pounder Emari Brazzell and a host of his buddies: Damon Sutton (280), Jacob Lage (230), Jack Ross (280), Michael Mydlo (250), Lance Dezmond (270), Luke Gorniak (230) and Myles Hall (245), the Titans avenged a loss a 21-17 loss to Warren Mott a year ago with a resounding 38-7 victory.
The Titans stayed atop the Macomb Area Conference Red Division at 3-1 and 6-1 overall while Mott fell to 2-2, 5-2. The victory sets up a showdown at Macomb Dakota next week for the Red Division title.
Stevenson pushed the Marauders all over the field and used three turnovers to build a 24-0 lead at halftime.
“That’s our bread and butter,” said Stevenson coach Kevin Frederick. “We’re not going to fool anybody. We’re going to come right at you. We want to be a more physical team, and for the most part we’ve been that.”
Three runners reached the century mark for Stevenson.
Quarterback Frankie D’Ascenzo accounted for three TDs, a punt return and two rushing TDs, and rushed for 129 yards on 20 carries.
“This game has been on our calendar all year,” said D’Ascenzo. “The offensive line this year and the defensive line have been monsters all year. It’s great. We want to play for the MAC Red.”
Andrew Detmers had a TD run and 110 yards on 14 carries. Jared Cutlip had a TD and accounted for 131 yards on the ground on 14 carries.
With D’Ascenzo doing much of the heavy lifting on the ground, the Titans drove through the Mott defense in 11 plays with Cutlip scoring from a yard out with 6:54 left in the first quarter to make it 7-0.
Mott went three-and-out, but Tylen Redding intercepted a D’Ascenzo pass at the 38 and returned it 24 yards to the Titans 14.
Mott was unable to take advantage of the miscue when kicker Andreas Demetriou missed a 30-yard field goal.
The Titans drove 80 yards, entirely on the ground, with D’Ascenzo scoring from 1-yard out to make it 14-0 with 11:13 left in the half.
On the first play of its next possession Mott quarterback Michael Pond completed a screen pass to Maurice Allen. He fumbled with Levi Jackson recovering at the Mott 46.
Mott coach Tom Milanov replaced Pond with senior Jason Lilaj. After a 14-yard run he was smashed by Cutlip and fumbled with Nate Eck recovering.
D’Ascenzo fielded a punt and raced 73 yards down the left sideline for another score with 2:11 left to make it 24-0.
“I love the feeling,” he said. “I’ve been doing it all my life and it felt great. It was showing everybody that Stevenson is the real deal.”
Said Frederick: “He’s not afraid. There aren’t many Division 1 quarterbacks returning punts.”
Mott avoided the shutout on a 19-yard run by Jayvon Wilson with 9.9 seconds left in the third quarter.