Catholic League Clash Week 3: Shrine takes on Cabrini in a game Goddard calls "almost a must win"

By: Mike Moore | Royal Oak Review | Published September 9, 2015

 In other Catholic League action, Orchard Lake St. Mary's (2-0) welcomes in Penn (4-0) for a Friday night showdown between highly ranked and unbeaten teams.

In other Catholic League action, Orchard Lake St. Mary's (2-0) welcomes in Penn (4-0) for a Friday night showdown between highly ranked and unbeaten teams.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes


ROYAL OAK — The difficult part is accepting how close his team was to a 2-0 start.

The challenge now is finding a way to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss and not let it have any further effect on the rest of the season.

And that is why Royal Oak Shrine football coach John Goddard referred to this weekend’s tilt at Allen Park Cabrini as “almost a must win.”

“We’re not going to kid the kids or anything,” he added. “Our schedule is going to get a lot tougher coming up. With the way the playoffs are set up, I think this is a game we have to have.”

Shrine started the season with a 34-6 victory against Melvindale Academy for Business and Technology.

But last week, the Knights watched a 14-7 lead late in the fourth quarter disappear against Clarkston Everest Collegiate.

After the Mountaineers took a 17-14 lead on the first possession of overtime, Shrine had its field goal blocked.

“I don’t say this too often, but it’s a game we should have won,” Goddard added.

So, at 1-1 and with a host of tougher teams coming up in the next few weeks, Goddard and his guys must refocus on Cabrini, a very similar team with an identical 1-1 record.

The Catholic League Intersectional Division rivals have split the past four meetings.

Saturday’s game is set for 7:30 p.m. at Allen Park High.

“They are about the same as us, really. It’s going to be two equal teams going at it,” Goddard said. “They are a team with size, as always. ... They don’t have a ton of speed, so I think we match up well.”

Cabrini opened the season with a 19-6 victory against Redford Union (1-1), but was hammered last weekend 44-7 by Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood (2-0).

“It comes down to us doing things a little better,” Goddard said of his guys. “We have to block better. We have to make plays when we’re in position. We’re a young team, but we have to execute better.”

And Goddard said Saturday is the perfect time to forget about last weekend.

“I’m excited to go there and have the chance to bounce back,” he explained. “It was one loss, and we’re not out of anything. Now we have to fight our way back in. If they want to make something of this season, they will show me Saturday night and play like it.”

As Goddard said, these are two very even teams with identical records and a split in the past four meetings. This may be cliché, but it also may be one of those games where the more desperate team finds a way to win. Cabrini went 3-6 last fall and has only made the playoffs once since 2009. Shrine lost to the Monarchs 28-21, but finished 6-4 and in the playoffs for the 12th year in a row, which means Goddard has had must-win games like this and found ways to win them. The Everest loss was a tough one to swallow, but the Mountaineers are 2-0 and a solid team. Shrine has the talent and coaching to bounce back, and while it will be close, look for the guys from Royal Oak to do just that. My pick: Shrine

Other Catholic League picks (winners in bold)
Cranbrook (2-0) at Macomb Lutheran North (1-1) — 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at Wayne State

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (2-0) vs. Mishawaka Penn (IN) (4-0) — 7 p.m. Sept. 11

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (2-0) at Warren Michigan Collgiate (1-1) — 7 p.m. Sept. 12

Birmingham Brother Rice (0-2) vs. Elkhart Central (IN) (1-2) — 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at Hurley Field in Berkley

Last week’s record: 5-0

Season record: 6-0