2019 Football Preview: Birmingham Groves

2018 Record: 10-3

By: C & G Sports Staff | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 16, 2019


Last season’s record: 10-3
League: Oakland Activities Association White Division
Returning starters: Eight
First game: 4 p.m. Aug. 30 vs. Grosse Pointe South at Wayne State University

Offensive keys:
Two key players leading the Falcons offense this season are quarterback Markis Alexander and kicker Moritz Preuss.

Groves coach Brendan Flaherty, now in his 19th season on the job, said Preuss is going into this third year as the kicker.

“He’s a college kicker, and he’s won some games for us,” Flaherty said.

Alexander has been involved in Birmingham football since his flag football days. He’s since worked his way up through the system and now enters his senior season at Groves.

Flaherty said he’s improved every season.

“He can make all the throws and the checks. He’s got the leadership. He’s really earned the rights for us, and we’ve given him the keys to the car,” Flaherty said. “He’s a college quarterback.”

One final key to the season for Flaherty is the offensive line. The coach would like to see the unit mesh and work together.

Defensive keys:
In 13 games last season, the Falcons averaged 16 points against per game. From Week 5 to Week 9, Groves surrendered just 28 total points.

In order to be just as effective this season, Flaherty wants his defense to play the way they’ve always played — with speed.

“For us, it’s football IQ and speed,” the coach said. “I want guys who play fast. That’s what it is for us. The defense played fast last year, and if we do that again, we’ll be good.”

Coach’s outlook:
Since Flaherty took over at Groves, his goal has always been to win the league. The rest of the team’s success, he said, will be a byproduct of that.

“If we win the league, then we know we’re going to be in the playoffs, and then we can go from there,” Flaherty said. “For us, we don’t really even talk playoffs. It’s just win the league and beat Seaholm. That’s it — everything else will take care of itself.”

at Grosse Pointe South (8-2) — 4 p.m. Aug. 30 at Wayne State University
South and Groves last played in 2016 when the Falcons secured a 44-10 victory in a Division 2 regional final.

at West Bloomfield High (9-3) — 7 p.m. Sept. 6
The Lakers made the playoffs for the fifth straight year last season. Groves and West Bloomfield opened the season in 2018. The Lakers won 39-28 to even the series at 14-14.

vs. Rochester High (2-7) — 7 p.m. Sept. 13
The Falcons played a tight game against Groves last season, but fell 35-28. Rochester leads the all-time series 11-8.

at Oak Park High (9-2) — 6 p.m. Sept. 20
Of the Falcons’ three losses last season, one of them came at the hands of Oak Park 13-7. Groves still leads the all-time series 7-6.

vs. Troy Athens (1-8) — 7 p.m. Sept. 27
Before last season, the Falcons and Red Hawks had not matched up with each other since 2006. Groves has won last year 42-6, but Athens leads the all-time series 18-7.

at Troy High (2-7) — 7 p.m. Oct. 4
In last season’s battle, the Falcons overwhelmed the Colts in a 38-0 win. In their last two meetings, Groves has outscored Troy 59-3.

vs. Rochester Hills Stoney Creek (3-6) — 7 p.m. Oct. 11
Prior to the 2017 season, the Cougars and Falcons had not played against one another since 2009. Groves won the past two matchups against Stoney, outscoring the Cougars 42-9.

at Birmingham Seaholm (7-3) — 7 p.m. Oct. 18
The two teams played twice last season, with Groves taking both matchups. The Maples haven’t beaten the Falcons since a 28-22 win in 2013. Despite that, Seaholm is 40-20 overall against its rival.

at Brownstown Woodhaven (8-2) — 7 p.m. Oct. 25
The Falcons and Warriors will close the regular season in the first-ever matchup between the two schools. Last year, Woodhaven won the Downriver League, but fell in the first round of the postseason to Monroe High.