Grosse Pointe North senior Jayden Holyfield carries the ball against Grosse Pointe South on Oct. 21 at Grosse Pointe North High School.

Grosse Pointe North senior Jayden Holyfield carries the ball against Grosse Pointe South on Oct. 21 at Grosse Pointe North High School.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Grosse Pointe South prevails in rivalry game with Grosse Pointe North

Both teams open the playoffs on Friday, Liggett too

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 26, 2022

GROSSE POINTES — It’s always a dogfight when the Grosse Pointe North and Grosse Pointe South varsity football teams clash, especially when it’s the last game of the season.

South (6-3) came into this year’s game with four straight wins over North (8-1), and South continued its success in a 44-14 win over Grosse Pointe North on Oct. 21 at Grosse Pointe North High School.

North entered the game undefeated, having its first winning season since 2017. South, which has qualified for eight straight playoffs, countered with a 5-1 record in its last six games after starting the season 0-2.

North coach Joe Drouin, who coached at South from 1996 to 2005, said the North-South game is always competitive, regardless of each school’s record.

“I coached at South for 10 years as an assistant, and I was at North as an assistant, so I’ve been on both sides of the rivalry; records go out the window,” Drouin said. “Everything revolves around this game for these kids.”

South showed just that as it scored 30 unanswered points to take the win over North.

North scored on its first possession of the game as senior quarterback Daniel Taylor connected with senior wide receiver Kyle Armbruster for a 44-yard touchdown.

From there, South senior quarterback Anthony Benard stole the show with four passing touchdowns and one rushing.

Benard tied the score at seven with a 14-yard scramble for a touchdown, but the momentum-shifting play came on the ensuing kickoff.

North fumbled the kickoff, leaving South with favorable field position in the North redzone.

“Scoring kind of gave us some confidence, but that muffed kickoff really made us feel like it was a different game,” South coach Chad Hepner said.

South would capitalize on the fumble as Benard found senior wide receiver Cliff Grabowski for a score right before halftime.

South’s second-half showcase was courtesy of Benard, who connected with senior receiver Egan Sullivan for two straight scores of 24 yards and 29 yards, respectively, to give North the 30-7 lead.

“He’s (Benard) been fantastic as a leader and as a playmaker,” Hepner said.

Hepner, in his first year as head coach at South, played football at South before graduating in 1993.

After being a part of the coaching staff for 20 years, he was able to feel the rivalry from a head coaching perspective.

“It definitely felt a little bit more of the weight of the whole event as opposed to just my role to win the game,” Hepner said.

North would close the gap with a score and force a South punt, but North fumbled the punt, leading to a South touchdown.


Playoffs start Friday
Grosse Pointe North will draw Allen Park (5-4) in the first round of the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 playoffs at 6 p.m. Oct. 28 at Grosse Pointe North.

Drouin said there was a key takeaway from the South game that he looks to emphasize to his team.

“We saw that we can’t play a sloppy game,” Drouin said. “In some of our early games when we’re blowing teams out with a running clock, we were making mistakes; South showed us that we can’t make mistakes.”

Grosse Pointe South will take on reigning MHSAA Division 2 State Champion Warren De La Salle (8-1) at 7 p.m. Oct. 28 at Wayne State University.

South was eliminated in the playoffs last year by De La Salle, but the team has a strong mindset going into the game this time around.

“There’s no fear; we know in our minds we’re going up against a good team this year,” Hepner said.

Grosse Pointe University Liggett (7-2) will take on Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (4-5) in the first round of the Division 7 playoffs at 7 p.m. Oct. 28 at Navarre Field in Monroe.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association stated in a press release that all tickets except for the finals will be sold online only at For the district semifinal games, the cost of a ticket is $7.