Groves gets past Farmington Hills Harrison in triple overtime

Online Only | Published September 23, 2017

FARMINGTON HILLS — Birmingham Groves escaped with a 32-31 victory Sept. 22 over Farmington Hills Harrison in triple overtime.

Groves got on track early, recovering the opening kickoff after Harrison fumbled at their own 32-yard line.

The Hawks defense stepped up, forcing the Falcons into a 37-yard field goal attempt, but a running into the kicker penalty gave Groves new life. The Falcons quickly took advantage as quarterback Colton Tinsley found running back Storm Mullen in the end zone for 6 yards and a 7-0 lead.

“Finding some momentum and getting that lead really helped us out early on,” Falcons coach Brendan Flaherty said.  “Getting a little bit of luck in the first half always helps out.”

Both defenses would continue to play tough through the first half, forcing the opposing offenses to punt and play a game of field position.

That is until Tinsley was able to connect on a 61-yard pass to receiver Khalil Dawsey who took it all the way down to the 2-yard line. Running back Chaise Ford finished the job for the Falcons, running it into the end zone and giving the Falcons a 14-0 lead.

“They came out tough, strong and hungry tonight. We just needed to find a way to keep firing back,” Ford said.

The Hawks looked like they might finally get something going towards the end of the first half, but an interception by Dawsey ended the threat.

In the second half it was more of the same with both defenses playing a huge part.

After Harrison’s defense forced Groves to punt to begin the second half, they found themselves right back on the field when Dawsey recovered a fumble for the Falcons.

“The defense played real well tonight, we just had too many penalties and missed plays,” Harrison coach John Herrington said. “We just couldn’t get the job done tonight.”

It wasn’t until late in the third quarter that the Hawks finally got on the board when running back Roderick Heard ran it from 2-yards out to cut the Falcons lead to 14-7.

After the score made it a one-possession game, Harrison’s offense came to life and drove the field late in the fourth quarter. With 42 seconds to play, running back Rapana Filemu ran it in for the score to make it 14-14 and force overtime.

The Hawks started with the ball in overtime, settling for a 22-yard field goal to make it 17-14. Groves would have a shot to win if they could get into the end zone.

The Hawk defense stepped up yet again though, forcing the Falcons to kick a 36-yard field goal, which tied the game at 17.

Groves wasted no time in scoring when Ford ran it in from 3-yards out for his second touchdown and a 24-17 lead.

The offense for the Hawks would then do their part when quarterback Noah Hendricks found receiver Tray Walker for 5 yards and a touchdown.

Hendricks would throw for another touchdown in the third overtime, this one to Heard who ran it 11 yards for the score and a 31-24 lead. Once again the Hawks had the lead and a chance to walk away with a win.

After two 5-yard runs by Ford, the Falcons once again found the end zone. This time though the Falcons opted to go for two and the win.

They gave the ball to Ford, and he ran it off the right side into the end zone, giving the Falcons a 32-31 win in triple overtime.

“We knew they would try to load the box, cause they thought we were going to run it right at them,” Ford said. “I just tried to use my speed to get around the corner and get in. It felt great.”

“I just thought we were running the ball real well, and I knew we could get in there from 2 yards out,” Flaherty said.

The win is the second time in two years that Groves has beaten Harrison on the road.