Birmingham Seaholm takes the field during the team’s first-round matchup against Birmingham Groves  Oct. 27 at Seaholm High School.

Birmingham Seaholm takes the field during the team’s first-round matchup against Birmingham Groves Oct. 27 at Seaholm High School.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

Seaholm stands tall in 56-49 win over Groves, advances in MHSAA Playoffs

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published October 31, 2023

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 Seaholm senior quarterback Colton Kinnie runs through the Groves defense.

Seaholm senior quarterback Colton Kinnie runs through the Groves defense.

Photo by Donna Dalziel


BIRMINGHAM — Talk about one of the crazier rivalry games you’ll see in high school football — Birmingham Seaholm and Birmingham Groves put on a gridiron classic in the first round of the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 State Tournament.

Seaholm had already bested Groves a week prior in a 21-14 defensive showcase at Seaholm High School, but it would be a night and day difference Oct. 27 at Seaholm High School for part two of the rivalry this year.

Forefronted by Seaholm senior quarterback Colton Kinnie’s six touchdowns (four rushing and two passing) and an early 28-0 lead in the second quarter, Seaholm held off Groves’ late comeback to take the 56-49 win.

“Our kids are playing with some fire and playing with a little piss and vinegar, if you will,” Seaholm coach Jim DeWald said. “They’re tough and they’re resilient. A back-and-forth game; that’s a good … team over there (Groves). We got to sure some stuff up in the pass game obviously, but I’m very proud of our kids.”

Trailing 49-42 with just under five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Groves was in a position to tie the game as the Falcons took over at their own 5-yard line. Fortunately for the Maples, their defense dug in their heels to force a defensive stop.

“After that game last week, we just kind of figured some stuff out in the film room and figured out something on the defense to try and guess what they were going to do,” Seaholm junior defensive back Nathan Walsh said. “They played great in the second half, so we’re just happy to come out with the dub.”

Punting out of their own endzone, theFalcons felt the Seaholm pressure on the punt and got the ball off to their own 20-yard line, and Seaholm would return it to the Groves 15-yard line for ideal field position.

As Kinnie did all night, he trusted in his legs and powered through the Groves defense for the 8-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 56-42 with 2:30 left in the contest.

Groves senior quarterback Cayden Hardy would connect with junior tight end Noah Woods for a 17-yard score to cut the lead within seven, but Seaholm would recover the ensuing onside kick to slam the door shut on the Falcons’ comeback.

By the six-minute mark in the second quarter, the Maples had full control of a 28-0 lead as their offensive and defensive units were equally dominant in the first half. Kinnie connected with wide receiver Louis Sullivan on touchdown scores of 15 and 43 yards, while Kinnie and Jack Lewis each added a rushing touchdown. Lewis ran for two touchdowns in the win.

Groves would join the scoring party on a 4-yard touchdown run by Noah Sanders, and after a Seaholm score by Kinnie, Groves would put together two-straight scoring drives as Hardy would connect with Nicholas Hardy for touchdown scores of 15 and 65 yards.

Seaholm would score again behind a Kinnie run to take a 42-21 lead, but Groves would storm back as Hardy continued to light up the Seaholm defense, finding Sanders on an 11-yard pass. Mario Campoy-LoVasco would tack on a 12-yard rushing touchdown to make it 42-35.

Every time Groves was within reaching distance, Kinnie and the Seaholm offense would put together a methodical touchdown drive.

Holding a seven-point lead, the Falcons defense forced the Maples to make a gutsy fourth down decision with just under 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter at the Maples’ 44-yard line.

Like the Maples had done all game, they put it on the back of their veteran quarterback, and he got the job done on a quarterback sneak to keep the drive alive.

“You got to trust your guys, right,” DeWald said. “If we can’t trust our kids, our offensive line and our third-year starting quarterback and put the ball in his hands and let’s get this thing done, we can’t do it. We got to do it. We got to trust our kids, and we did.”

Kinnie would pitch to Lewis for a 27-yard rushing touchdown to make it a 14-point game, but Hardy refused to let the Groves offense stall as he took a quarterback keeper for a 60-yard touchdown to make it 49-42.

Both offenses traded a pair of punts, and the Seaholm offense would be the next to strike, ultimately earning the Maples the win.

Seaholm junior kicker Wesley Billings (8/8) and Groves sophomore kicker Gage Watters (7/7) were both perfect on their extra point attempts.

It was a redemption game for a Seaholm team that was swept by Groves last year, including in the district finals.

“That was kind of a bummer, especially for our seniors,” Walsh said. “They never had the chance. We had our first chance last week, and to do it again is great.”

Seaholm will host Waterford Mott in the district finals Nov. 3 at Seaholm High School as the Maples look to continue their playoff run.