Groves downs Grosse Pointe South at Prep Kickoff Classic in Detroit

By: Zachary Manning | Online Only | Published August 30, 2019

 Birmingham Groves' Ralph Donaldson dives for the end zone against Grosse Pointe South Aug. 30 at Wayne State University. The Falcons won 34-21.

Birmingham Groves' Ralph Donaldson dives for the end zone against Grosse Pointe South Aug. 30 at Wayne State University. The Falcons won 34-21.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

 Grosse Pointe South's Will Johnson hauls in a touchdown pass against Birmingham Groves Aug. 30 at Wayne State University. South takes on Utica Ford II Sept. 6 at 7 p.m.

Grosse Pointe South's Will Johnson hauls in a touchdown pass against Birmingham Groves Aug. 30 at Wayne State University. South takes on Utica Ford II Sept. 6 at 7 p.m.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

DETROIT –– Birmingham Groves' defense couldn't have imagined a better start to its game against Grosse Pointe South Aug. 30 at Wayne State University. 

Outside of a fumble on Groves' opening possession, the Falcons set the tone early. On South’s opening drive of the game, Damon Dunbar got the scoring started by returning an interception for a touchdown.

Not to be outdone, Ralph Donaldson scooped up a fumble and took it 54 yards to the end zone to make the score 14-0 in the opening quarter. When the first period expired Groves, was up 14-0 and its offense didn’t score. 

“We got some experienced guys that played for us deep in the playoffs last year, and that really, really helped, and it got us going in the right direction,” Groves coach Brendan Flaherty said. 

It wouldn’t take long for the offensive unit to get going in the second quarter, as Markis Alexander hit Kaleb Coleman in the end zone from 2 yards out to open the period. 

Later in the second quarter, Donaldson scored on offense, collecting a 5-yard touchdown rush, which gave the Falcons a 28-0 lead just before halftime. In total, Donaldson would have three touchdowns, one on defense and two on offense. 

“He’s just a great leader. I mean, he’s a three-year varsity player,” Flaherty said of Donaldson. “He’s just a great kid. He just loves playing football and the joy and enthusiasm shows out there.” 

While it looked as if South was in for a long day, the Blue Devils responded. After the Falcons took a 28-0 lead late in the second quarter, Alex Shaheen found Will Johnson for a 36-yard touchdown to grab some momentum going into halftime.

The Blue Devils then began the second half with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Shaheen to Sam Tucker, cutting the Falcons lead to 28-14. 

After another Groves touchdown, Shaheen found AJ Benson late in the fourth quarter for a 6-yard touchdown to make the final score 34-21. 

“The kids had resiliency. They never gave up. They worked hard,” South coach Tim Brandon said. “You play a team like that, you can’t overcome those mistakes, too many mistakes.” 

The Falcons will look to continue their winning ways at 7 p.m. Sept. 6 at West Bloomfield High. 

South will get a chance to pick up its first win at 7 p.m. Sept. 6 against Utica Ford II at Sterling Heights Stevenson.