Novi Detroit Catholic Central sophomore quarterback Austin Brown had a bit more motivation than normal when the Shamrocks hosted Grandville in Saturday’s Division 1 regional final.
It turns out that Grandville played like it was the tougher team in a preseason scrimmage — and if you know anything about CC football, you know nobody is supposed to be tougher than the Shamrocks.
“They got us good,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t say they manhandled us, but they got us good and we were definitely ready for them.”
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This time CC proved to be the tougher team, defeating Grandville, 28-14.
“We had a little oomph to us,” Brown said. “We were not letting that happen again.”
Brown completed 10 of 12 passes for 148 yards and also put the game away with 35-yard TD scramble with 3:07 left to play.
“The tailback lined up on the wrong side,” explained Brown. “It was a broken play and I ended up seeing something big to the right of the field. I used the speed that I didn’t think I had and then I ended up scoring.”
Both teams have terrific running games that routinely gobble time off the clock in big chunks. But CC limited Grandville to only 155 yards rushing as the Bulldogs couldn’t sustain much offensively.
“They were the more physical team today, no doubt, and they deserve it,” said Grandville coach Eric Stiegel. “I feel like we played with them a lot, had our chances, but they definitely played the better game today and did a good job.”
CC (12-0) was able to control the clock while running for 188 yards, which is what coach Tom Mach intended to do.
“They’re very dangerous, very hard to stop,” Mach said. “The idea, of course, was to keep the ball away from them, otherwise they’d be keeping it away from us and scoring.”
Helping CC’s running game was Brown’s passing. He hit key passes in each touchdown drive, especially a 37-yard completion to tight end Jack Morris that led to Nick Capatina’s 1-yard run for a 21-7 lead midway through the third quarter.
“He can throw the ball, man,” Morris said of Brown. “He’s got a great arm and he’s got a great ability to scramble if he needs to and make big plays for us.”
Grandville and its T-formation, full house backfield had only two sustained drives against the CC defense and managed only 33 yards in the air.
Morris had a key sack and also ended a possession by knocking down a pass, forcing Grandville to punt, just before Brown scored his fourth-quarter touchdown to send the Shamrocks into this Saturday’s semifinal game against defending state champ Romeo.
Despite all of his passing yards and his newfound speed running the ball, Brown knows why CC is still CC.
“Our defense is ridiculous this year,” Brown said. “That’s what’s keeping us going.”
Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1.