Birmingham Groves defeats Royal Oak High, wins OAA Blue Title

Falcons finish undefeated in the division

By: Alex Tekip | C&G Newspapers | Published October 16, 2015


ROYAL OAK—Birmingham Groves is the official 2015 outright Oakland Activities Association Blue Division champion after defeating Royal Oak High 42-0 on Oct. 16.

“It’s big,” said Groves coach Brendan Flaherty. “It’s big to everybody involved in the program. This is my 15th year. We’ve never had an outright title in my 15 years, so it’s big. It’s huge for us, and it’s an accomplishment.

Groves (8-0, 7-0 Blue) came out firing against Royal Oak (4-4, 4-3 Blue). The Falcons scored two touchdowns approximately three minutes apart in the first quarter, taking an early 14-0 lead. Groves added to its lead in the second quarter, making it 24-0 on a 34-yard toss from quarterback Beau Kewley to Nick Moore.

A key moment of the game came from Saamad Ali, whose interception at Royal Oak’s 36-yard line led to Kewley’s touchdown pass. Flaherty said his running backs, CJ Boswell and Earnest Allen, also made a huge difference.

“They’re fantastic football players,” Flaherty said. “They both have two dynamics that are pretty special. We kind of call them, 'thunder and lightning.' Earnest is thunder. He’s a powerful running back and getting faster. And CJ, by no means does he run soft. He runs extremely hard, but he is fast. He’s a fast dude."

Royal Oak coach Ray McMann said his team’s initial plan was to run the ball more than passing it, but had to adjust after Groves scored two early touchdowns.

“Obviously they got two quick scores, so we had to throw a little more than we wanted,” McMann said. “It didn’t turn out obviously the way we had hoped, but hats off to them. When you get beat by the better team, you just gotta, you know, own up to it, and they’re the better team, there’s no question.”

Groves was able to limit the game of Royal Oak running back Brendan Beerer. Beerer’s only opportunity to score was on a 42-yard run after a fake punt, and Groves defense made sure that did not happen.

“We didn’t capitalize on (Beerer’s run), and they didn’t make any mistakes,” said McMann. “There (were) no turnovers, there (were) no fumbles, and we had way too many penalties. Fundamentally, they were sound. We had to play mistake free, our best game, and they had to play a little below average for us to have a chance.”

Flaherty said Groves has accomplished a season goal by winning the league. However, he said there’s still work to do. If the Falcons defeat Ann Arbor Pioneer on Oct. 23, they will become the school’s first undefeated team since 1978.

Royal Oak has a chance to have its first winning season since 2007 with a win over Livonia Franklin on Oct. 23.