Birmingham Groves receiver Eli Tuner scores a touchdown Oct. 18 in a game against Birmingham Seaholm on the road. The Falcons beat the Maples 35-14 to improve to 7-1 on the season.

Birmingham Groves receiver Eli Tuner scores a touchdown Oct. 18 in a game against Birmingham Seaholm on the road. The Falcons beat the Maples 35-14 to improve to 7-1 on the season.

Photo by Brian Sevald


Groves uses second half to pull away, beats Seaholm 35-14

By: Jacob Herbert | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published October 18, 2019

 Seaholm slotback Will McBride hurdles a Groves defender in a game at home. With the loss, the Maples fall to 5-3 on the season.

Seaholm slotback Will McBride hurdles a Groves defender in a game at home. With the loss, the Maples fall to 5-3 on the season.

Photo by Brian Sevald

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BIRMINGHAM — It was a tale of two halves in the 61st all-time meeting between two schools separated by just two miles. With the game tied at half, a three-score second half gave Birmingham Groves (6-1 overall, 5-1 Oakland Activities Association White Division) its seventh straight win over Birmingham Seaholm (5-3 overall, 4-2 OAA White).

The Falcons topped the Maples 35-14 Oct. 18 in a game at Seaholm.

“It’s great to be our rival,” Groves coach Brendan Flaherty said. “We have a large amount of respect for these guys. It was a hard-nosed week and it gets kind of bitter back and forth across town. Getting away from that and letting all that noise not affect us is what I’m really proud of.”

The two teams went into the halftime break tied at 14-14. Both of the Maples scores came on runs from James DeWald. The senior scored on runs of 1 yard and 3 yards.

On its first drive of the game, Chaz Strecker took the kickoff 61 yards before being pushed out of bounds. The Maples then executed a 10-play, 36-yard drive that ended in DeWald’s first of two scores. 

The second score put the cap on a drive that started from the Maples' own 15-yard line and was highlighted by a 30-yard pass from quarterback Caleb Knoer to slotback Will McBride.

“He’s physical and it matters to him," Seaholm coach Jim DeWald said of James. “ I trust him at the goal line about as much as anybody we’ve ever had.”

From there the Maples struggled and a litany of missed opportunities kept them from getting back into the game. 

Trailing 28-14 heading in the fourth quarter, Groves quarterback Markis Alexander was intercepted by Miles Mentag, allowing Seaholm to take over at the Falcons 33-yard line. A would-be first down run by McBride turned into a third and 21 when the junior hurdled a Groves defender, which is not allowed under state rules. 

Earlier in the game, the Maples failed on a fourth-down conversion. The Falcons scored on their next possession to extend the lead.

With one week remaining in the regular season, the Maples travel to Auburn Hills Avondale for a must-win game. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 25.

“We’ve got to take this pain that we're feeling from this loss, bottle it up and use it to our advantage,” DeWald said. “Our kids fight, and they’re good kids.”

Alexander led the way for the Falcons, throwing three touchdown passes to three different receivers in the win. The senior found Clayton Fox and Eli Turner for his two first half scores on throws of 43 and 22 yards, respectively. 

In the second half, Alexander found Kyle Coleman on a 51-yard touchdown connection. Other Groves scores came on runs from Ralph Donaldson and Colby Taylor.

“The receivers and I talked before they game, and they were playing off so we knew we had a lot of underneath routes,” Alexander said. “I just trusted my guys and the offensive line did a great job giving me time.”

Flaherty noted seniors Darryl Allen and Kaleb Coleman as standout player in the game because of their ability to thrive playing in positions they’re not used to playing.

The Falcons will head downriver to conclude their regular season at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at Brownstown Woodhaven. 

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