Warren De La Salle junior running back Jordan Rogers dives for the end zone in the team's 35-7 Nov. 2 win over Oak Park High in a Division 2 district final.

Warren De La Salle junior running back Jordan Rogers dives for the end zone in the team's 35-7 Nov. 2 win over Oak Park High in a Division 2 district final.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes


De La Salle football stuffs Oak Park to capture district title

By: Jason Carmel Davis | C&G Newspapers | Published November 2, 2018

OAK PARK — Since the start of the 2016 season, the Oak Park High football team has been held to seven points four times.

Two of those occurrences have come against Warren De La Salle. That includes the team’s Nov. 2 Division 2 district final, won by the Pilots 35-7.

De La Salle (9-2) advances to face either Port Huron Northern or St. Clair Shores Lakeview in a Nov. 10 regional final.

In the Nov. 2 win, the Pilots held the Knights (9-2) to 105 yards of offense — 70 of which came on a touchdown pass from senior quarterback D’Wan Mathis to junior wide receiver Maliq Carr with 3:07 left in the game.

“Our defensive line played really well. We all stayed in our passing lanes and kept (Mathis) from scrambling,” De La Salle senior defensive lineman Mike McGinnity said. “Our defensive backs did a great job in coverage sticking with their wide receiver when (Mathis) was able to scramble.

“We watched a lot of film this week. Our coaches had us ready.”

The Pilots forced four turnovers in the game and held the Knights to one first down in the second half.

The game marked the second straight season De La Salle and Oak Park met, with the Pilots taking a 14-7 decision in a 2017 regional final on their way to a state title.

“People say we got lucky last year. I guess we were even luckier this year,” De La Salle coach Mike Giannone said. “Our guys were ready to play. We’ve had some injuries this season, and, I know it’s cliche, but it’s been 'next man up.' These guys have worked hard for this.”

De La Salle used its run game to punish the Oak Park defense, as 11 Pilots recorded carries in the game. Sophomore running back Brett Stanley rushed for 75 yards and two touchdowns — his first two scores of the season.

“I was watching Stanley practice this week and thought, ‘He’s really good. We should get him some carries,’” Giannone said.

De La Salle got a 5-yard rushing touchdown from senior back Evan Valliancourt to start the scoring. Pilots junior running back Jordan Rogers scored from 9 yards out to put De La Salle up 14-0 with 9:09 left in the second quarter.

The Pilots defense got in on the act late, as junior safety Dylan Wilson recovered a fumble, forced by senior linebacker Devin Campbell, in the end zone to put his team up 28-0 with 5:10 left in the game.

“This is kind of the opposite of last year. We didn’t have any injuries last season,” said McGinnity, who missed the team’s Oct. 26 playoff opener win. The Pilots also lost their starting quarterback and running back in Week 4. “Guys are stepping up. We’ve had different guys step up all year. Now we’re starting to get healthy at the right time. We’re not done yet. We’ve got more to do.”