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2019 Football Preview: Warren De La Salle

2018 Record: 12-2

By: C & G Sports Staff | Warren Weekly | Published July 12, 2019


Last season’s record: 12-2
League: Catholic High School League Central Division
Returning starters: 10
First game: 7 p.m. Aug. 30 vs. Muskegon High

Offensive keys:
Coming off the team’s second straight Division 2 state championship, De La Salle coach Mike Giannone said quarterback play will be vital, with senior Anthony Stepnitz leading the way.

Giannone, now with four state championships on his résumé, said the Pilots have a slew of running backs to run behind an offensive line led by senior Grant Toutant. Senior wide receivers Ricky Pearson and Braden Babich will be called on to make plays on the outside.

De La Salle averaged 28.2 points per game last season.

Defensive keys:
Giannone said the defensive line, led by senior Michael Young, will be the team’s strength. He noted that the unit is as strong as it’s ever been under his watch. The Pilots defense was good all of last season but went to another level in the playoffs. In five postseason games, the Pilots allowed seven points per contest on their way to a second straight state title.

Coach’s outlook:
“I like the consistency we’ve had for the past couple years with the coaching staff and the entire program, so the kids understand what’s going on,” Giannone said. “I hope (the players) are motivated. I think the bar has been set for them. It’s De La Salle football 2019, dot, dot, dot, fill in the rest. So we’ll see what happens.”

vs. Muskegon High (13-1) — 7 p.m. Aug. 30
The two-time defending Division 2 state champs for the second straight year open the season against Muskegon, another state power. The Big Reds bested the Pilots 36-21 last season and didn’t lose until the D-3 championship game. De La Salle is 0-3 all-time against Muskegon.

vs. London (Ontario) St. Thomas Aquinas — 7 p.m. Sept. 6
De La Salle took the only two meetings (in 2017 and 2018) by a combined score of 115-7.

vs. Detroit Old Redford (1-8) — 7 p.m. Sept. 13
Old Redford was shut out four times in 2018 and scored more than 12 points just once. De La Salle last season allowed more than 10 points only three times.

at Birmingham Brother Rice (7-4) — 7 p.m. Sept. 21
Rice leads the series 43-15, but De La Salle has won four of the last five, including 13-0 last season.

at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (3-6) — 7 p.m. Sept. 27
The Pilots have taken three of four from the Eaglets, but they still trail the series 17-7. De La Salle won last season’s matchup 31-7.

vs. Novi Detroit Catholic Central (7-4) — 7 p.m. Oct. 4
De La Salle and Catholic Central have played four times in the last two seasons, with the Pilots winning three of those, including two Prep Bowl triumphs. The Shamrocks, though, hold a commanding 46-18 series lead.

vs. Davison High (7-3) — 7 p.m. Oct. 11
The Pilots downed the Cardinals 35-7 last season in the first meeting between the programs. The 7 points scored by Davison in the game were 26.6 under its season average.

at University of Detroit Jesuit (5-4) — 7 p.m. Oct. 18
De La Salle is 39-14-2 against Jesuit and won last year’s game 41-20. Only one team scored more on the Pilots last season.

vs. TBA Prep Bowl or crossover — TBA Oct. 25