Late score lifts De La Salle football past Oak Park in regional final

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Online Only | Published November 10, 2017

 Warren De La Salle quarterback Luke Pfromm sits at the bottom of a pile after scoring one of his two touchdowns in his team's 14-7 win over Oak Park High in a Nov. 10 Division 2 regional final.

Warren De La Salle quarterback Luke Pfromm sits at the bottom of a pile after scoring one of his two touchdowns in his team's 14-7 win over Oak Park High in a Nov. 10 Division 2 regional final.

Photo by Sean Work

 Oak Park High running back Torriano Richardson eludes Warren De La Salle defenders on his way to a 60-yard touchdown run early in a Nov. 10 Division 2 regional final

Oak Park High running back Torriano Richardson eludes Warren De La Salle defenders on his way to a 60-yard touchdown run early in a Nov. 10 Division 2 regional final

Photo by Sean Work


DETROIT — A wildly epic 13-play, 86-yard fourth quarter touchdown drive propelled the Warren De La Salle football team to a 14-7 win over Oak Park High Nov. 10 and to the Division 2 state semifinals.

Pilots quarterback Luke Pfromm punched it in from 3 yards out with 45 seconds left to put his team up 12-7. Pfromm then hit tight end Cameron Crosby for a successful two-point.

“Our defense had our backs all game. I just knew that was our chance. If we go down and score on that drive, we make it up to them,” said Pfromm, who threw for 122 yards and ran for two scores. 

The Pilots made several critical plays on the drive. Pfromm found wide receiver Jake Badalamenti for 38 yards on third and 14 to keep the drive alive. Pfromm later hit running back Evan Vaillancourt for 32 yards on another third and 14 to give De La Salle first and goal at the Oak Park 7-yard line. A penalty then gave the Pilots the ball at the Oak Park 4, and a 2-yard rush by Cordell Tannyhill set up Pfromm’s game-winning score.

Oak Park had one last chance to extend the game, but De La Salle defensive back Josh DeBerry intercepted a D’Wan Mathis pass to seal the win.

“I knew who they were targeting. I knew I had to make a play,” DeBerry said.

De La Salle (10-2) advances to face Detroit Martin Luther King (11-1) in a state semifinal at 1 p.m. Nov. 18 at a site to be determined. The D-2 state championship game is set for 1 p.m. Nov. 24 at Ford Field.

“That last drive was fun to watch. Guys came through. We had good pass protection. Sometimes you just have to count on your kids,” Pilots coach Mike Giannone said. “It was a heck of a drive.”

On the first score of the game, Oak Park running back Torriano Richardson took a handoff up the middle for a 60-yard touchdown. The officials threw a flag that would have wiped out the score, but picked it up, leaving the Knights with a 7-0 lead 53 seconds into the game.

The Pilots put a nice drive together to counter the score, but quarterback Luke Pfromm on second and 9 at the Knights 34 was picked off by defensive back Corion Montgomery to stop the threat.

The De La Salle defense stepped up to force an Oak Park three and out, with the punt giving the Pilots the ball at the Knights 43. De La Salle culminated an 11-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run from Pfromm with 50 seconds left. Oak Park held a 7-6 lead after a failed two-point try.

The defenses settled in during the second quarter as neither team could find the end zone. Oak Park punted twice in the quarter, while De La Salle turned the ball over on one of its two possessions and went three and out in the other. 

De La Salle dominated the ball in the first half, running 35 plays to the Knights' 18. De La Salle notched nine first downs to Oak Park’s one and outgained Oak Park 113-93.

De La Salle in the second half outgained Oak Park 101-67.

Oak Park quarterback D’Wan Mathis did not complete a pass in the game, going 0 for 9. 

“Our defense played remarkably,” said Giannone, who led Macomb Dakota to state titles in 2006 and 2007.

The regional round is as far as Oak Park has gotten in 10 playoff trips. 

De La Salle won its lone state title in 2014. The Pilots also played in the 2006 and 2008 D-2 title games.