Cranbrook dominates Shrine 42-7, sets up showdown with Divine Child

By: Mike Moore | C&G Newspapers | Published September 9, 2017

 Cranbrook junior Torrell Williams (11) reaches to break up a pass meant for Shrine senior Jacob Whitmore (23). The Cranes' defense has allowed seven points in three games.

Cranbrook junior Torrell Williams (11) reaches to break up a pass meant for Shrine senior Jacob Whitmore (23). The Cranes' defense has allowed seven points in three games.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

ROYAL OAK — His concerns were multifaceted, both in regards to the opponent at hand and the one looming on the horizon.

His concerns didn’t last long.

The Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood football team flexed some muscle for the third week in a row Saturday afternoon, starting quick and never looking back in a 42-7 victory at Royal Oak Shrine.

“I was a little surprised we were able to win by that margin,” Cranes coach Joe D’Angelo said. “This is a team that’s always strong and always gives us difficulty. We were able to get out on them pretty quick and I think that was key. … It was also good because I know who we’ve got next week (Dearborn Divine Child). I didn’t want my guys looking ahead, and they didn’t.”

“That’s just a good team. No excuses,” Shrine coach John Goddard said. “They were the better team.”

The Cranes needed less than two minutes to get on the board, finding the end zone when Trevor McConnell hit Marqis Stokes with an 18-yard strike.

Roughly four minutes last McConnell made it 14-0 on a quarterback keeper and an 8-yard run, and Kobi Russell pushed the lead to 21-0 with an interception returned for a score 90 seconds later.

“To be 21-0 before you can blink is tough,” Goddard said.

McConnell and Stokes hooked up again in the second quarter to make it 28-0.

McConnell added his third touchdown pass on a 55-yard toss to Russell to make it 35-0, and Tariq Muhammad capped Cranbrook’s scoring with a 42-yard run late in the first half.

Shrine’s lone score came when Jacob Whitmore caught an 18-yard pass Anthony Massucci in the fourth quarter.

“It was a good game for us. This is a very nice win for our guys,” D’Angelo said. “We had a good scheme going in, and the skilled guys did their job. At the same time, we made some big plays.”

Cranbrook, now 3-0, has allowed seven points all season.

“It’s really been a surprise,” D’Angelo said of how dominant his defense has been. “We lost our two inside backers and we’ve gone with two kids that never played there before. They have stepped up. The whole group has been big. We have some big bodies up front, guys that can take up some space. You put it all together, and you have a group playing very well right now.”

The Cranes travel to take on Divine Child (3-0) at 7 p.m. Sept. 15.

“That is a team that is awfully good,” D’Angelo said of the Falcons, a team that reached the Division 3 semifinals last year. “The main thing we’re going to have to do is stop their passing game. I don’t know that they’ve been tested just yet, but the way they throw and the size they have is something we have to deal with.”

This is just the second meeting ever between the teams. DC won 40-0 in 2010.

“We’re looking forward to it,” D’Angelo said. “That’s a great atmosphere to play in. Every program has that defining game. If we can go there and find a way to win, this would be that game. It would prove something to a lot of people.”

McConnell finished 7-for-9 passing for 133 yards and three touchdowns.

Kobi Russell hauled in two passes for 68 yards and one score.

Jack Fairman led the Cranes’ defense with nine tackles.

The Knights are now 1-2 on the season and travel to play at Marine City Cardinal Mooney at 7 p.m. Sept. 16.

“We’ve played two pretty good teams the past two weeks,” Goddard said. “We have no choice but to bounce back now. It’s on us. It’s not an option now. The kids understand that.”

Dan Romano led Shrine’s rushing attack, finishing with 74 yards on 13 carries, including a 55-yard run.