Groves quarterback Markis Alexander hands the ball off in a 38-24 win Nov. 2 at home. Alexander finished the game throwing for 178 yards on 7-of-13 passing.

Groves quarterback Markis Alexander hands the ball off in a 38-24 win Nov. 2 at home. Alexander finished the game throwing for 178 yards on 7-of-13 passing.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Groves survive late Brother Rice comeback to capture district title

By: Jacob Herbert | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published November 2, 2018

 Brother Rice quarterback Greg Piscopink drops back in a division 2 district final loss Nov. 2 on the road. Piscopink threw for 192 yards and four touchdowns on 14-of-31 passing.

Brother Rice quarterback Greg Piscopink drops back in a division 2 district final loss Nov. 2 on the road. Piscopink threw for 192 yards and four touchdowns on 14-of-31 passing.

Photo by Donna Agusti

BIRMINGHAM —  Behind four touchdown passes from quarterback Markis Alexander, Birmingham Groves beat Birmingham Brother Rice 38-24 to win a division 2 district championship Nov. 2 at home.

The win comes one year after after Brother Rice (7-4) knocked Groves out of the playoffs with a 24-21 victory in overtime in the pre-district round.

“We’ve had that score on our weight room wall all year,” Groves coach Brendan Flaherty said. “We wanted this one bad, we really did.””

It was the Falcons defense that came up with the first big play of the game on Rice’s opening drive. Jacob Edelman recovered a fumble and Groves took over. On the very next play, Alexander found Khalil Dawsey on a 49-yard strike to put the Falcons on top 7-0. Dawsey ended the game with two touchdown receptions on 59 yards receiving and two interceptions.

Alexander would add another touchdown before the first half was done. The junior found Demonte McCurdy on a 34-yard touchdown pass to reach the halftime score of 14-0.

“Credit to them, they’re a great defense,” Alexander said. “The past couple of weeks we’ve been running the ball great so I figured they were going to stack the box this game, and that’s what they did. They left one-on-one coverage on the outside and our receivers made some great plays.”

McCurdy was all over the field in this game. Along with his touchdown reception, the senior captain blocked two extra points during a second half Brother Rice rally. 

“The kid is just a winner,” Flaherty said. “He wakes up every morning thinking about how he is going to be a better football player. It is a joy to coach him and be around him. He gives everything he has.”

Alexander added two more second-half touchdowns to seal his night. The first was on a 10-yard pass to Dawsey, who also came up big on the other side of the ball with a 44-yard pick six that would put Groves up 31-0.

The second touchdown pass in the half came early in the fourth quarter when the junior found Eli Turner on a 21-yard touchdown pass.

“Markis (Alexander) is just a mature kid and he’s been better each week,” Flaherty said. “We’re not surprised. We expect that from him. We thought he played really well.”

Down 31-0 late in the third quarter, Warriors quarterback Greg Piscopink began to lead a comeback. The junior quarterback matched his counterpart had four touchdown passes of his own.

His first came on a 5-yard pass to DaRon Gilbert late in the fourth quarter. The second came on a 48-yard catch and run from senior running back James Donaldson.

A series of converted onside kicks by the Warriors aided Piscopink’s third and fourth touchdowns of the night to Patrick O’Hara and Patrick Balow, respectively.

However the heroic comeback fell short. Groves junior Ralph Donaldson picked up just enough on a fourth-and-2 conversion to seal the 38-24 victory.

“Those guys battled back and that’s a credit to them and coach (Adam Korzeniewski),” Flaherty said. “They work hard and that’s a great program. We tip our hats to them, but I’m proud of my guys too.”

Groves (9-2 overall) will move on to play Livonia Franklin in the regional semifinal round next week. The date and time of that game have yet to be announced.