Orchard Lake St. Mary’s opened up its defense of its Detroit Catholic League Central Division title with an impressive 43-7 victory at home over University of Detroit-Jesuit on Friday, Sept. 14.
The Eaglets (3-1 overall, 1-0 in the Catholic League Central) are now on a three-game winning streak after a game that appeared would be close at first.
Matt Linehan threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Van Jefferson for a 7-0 Eaglets’ lead before Andre Gard threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Liam Teevans for Jesuit to tie the game at 7-7 at the end of the first quarter.
“After (Jesuit) scored, we knew we had to put it in another gear,” said St. Mary’s Head Coach George Porritt.
That would be the only time the Cubs (2-2, 0-1) would see the end zone for the rest of the night, as St. Mary’s scored 36 unanswered points, led by three touchdowns by Grant Niemiec, with the first coming on a 55-yard run followed by two 3-yard touchdown runs.
Niemiec finished with 216 yards rushing on 21 carries.
Linehan also scored on a 2-yard touchdown run while Paul Graham kicked a 32-yard field goal and Mark Vanderson scored on 1-yard touchdown run.
The Eaglets’ victory sets the stage for a highly anticipated matchup at home on Friday, Sept. 21 against the top-ranked team in the state, undefeated Detroit Cass Tech, that will certainly draw attention from across Michigan.
Last season, the Technicians defeated Warren De La Salle in a regional final before knocking off Novi Detroit Catholic Central to win the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 state championship at Ford Field the same day the Eaglets won the Division 3 state title.
Cass Tech defeated the reigning Division 2 state champion, Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice, 25-18, to open the 2012 season and is now looking for its fourth straight victory against a Catholic League Central Division opponent.
“Cass Tech is terrific,” Porritt said. “They have great players at a lot of different positions. We’ve played a few teams similar to them, but they have a lot of speed and power.”