Birmingham Groves players celebrate with the trophy after winning a division 2 regional final Nov. 9 at home. The win over Livonia Franklin marks the 10th in a row for the Falcons.

Birmingham Groves players celebrate with the trophy after winning a division 2 regional final Nov. 9 at home. The win over Livonia Franklin marks the 10th in a row for the Falcons.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes


Offensive explosion leads Groves en route to regional title

By: Jacob Herbert | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published November 9, 2018

 Falcons running back Damonte McCurdy celebrates a touchdown in a 53-29 win over Livonia Franklin at home. McCurdy scored two touchdown in the game, both coming on the ground.

Falcons running back Damonte McCurdy celebrates a touchdown in a 53-29 win over Livonia Franklin at home. McCurdy scored two touchdown in the game, both coming on the ground.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

BIRMINGHAM — Behind seven touchdowns from five different players, Birmingham Groves won a shootout over Livonia Franklin 53-29 Nov. 9 to capture a Division 2 regional title at home.

“It’s a credit to the coaches, the players and everything involved in the program,” Groves coach Brendan Flaherty said on reaching the state semifinal. “I can’t even put that in the picture yet. I’m still a little bit woozy from the win.”

Senior captain Damonte McCurdy led the way for the Falcons with three touchdowns on the night.

Colby Taylor also scored two touchdowns in the game. The junior scored the first touchdown of the game on a 67-yard run down the sideline. Taylor also scored the last touchdown of the game on a 25-yard run that gave Groves the 53-point total. That is the most points the Falcons have scored on the season.

Linebacker and halfback Joel Mitchell made an impact on both sides of the ball in this game. The senior recovered a first-half fumble in the second quarter that led to a Falcons touchdown. He also scored on a 4-yard run in the second half as a result of an interception.

Finally, senior tight end Christian Thomas caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Markis Alexander to give Groves an 18-point lead just before the halftime break.

Flaherty said it was a mixture of a lot of things that has made this run possible, especially the work ethic of his seniors.

“I think it’s a great combination of players and coaches,” Flaherty said. “I think we have a really diverse staff and a great number of guys that can make some plays.”

Much like last week against Birmingham Brother Rice, the Falcons allowed Franklin to inch its way back into the game.

Trailing 21-2 at halftime, the Patriots scored two quick touchdowns early in the third quarter to get back into the game. The first came on a fourth-and-13 conversion on a pass from Jake Kelbert.

The second touchdown came after a Groves fumbled that was recovered by Evan Pittenger. This touchdown again came on fourth down as Kelbert found senior Kyle Hetu on a 15-yard strike to pull Franklin within six points.

Kelbert finished the game with four touchdown passes.

The Falcons shut down any chance at a Franklin comeback as the Patriots never got back to within one score.

“We wanted to come out and finish. We didn’t really finish well last week, and that was on us,” senior linebacker Henry Van Faussien said. “We have a nonstop drive to play aggressive. We play mean and we play hard. That’s just who we are.”

The Falcons are set to meet Division 2 defending state champion Warren De La Salle next week after the Pilots beat Port Huron Northern 21-3. The game will be played at a neutral site. That site, along with a date and time of the game have yet to be determined.