Prep Kickoff Classic launches 2015 football season in style

By: Mike Moore | C&G Newspapers | Published August 31, 2015


DETROIT — Seven games, more than 10,000 fans and one grand way to officially launch the 2015 high school football season.

For three days and nights, Adams Field at Wayne State University was buzzing with excitement as the Detroit Sports Commission put together the Tim Hortons Prep Kickoff Classic.

Teams from across southeast Michigan converged on the stadium to begin the year and their march toward the postseason.

In the end, it was three days of hard hits and great games.

State champs collide
In one of the main events from the three-day showcase, defending Division 3 state champ Orchard Lake St. Mary’s took on defending D-7 champ Detroit Loyola.

The Catholic League powerhouses met for the first time ever Aug. 29.

“That’s a tough team,” Eaglets coach George Porritt said after his guys held on for a 24-12 victory in a game that was closer than the final score indicated. “They are physical; they tacked real well.”

Justin Myrick got St. Mary’s going, scoring from 3 yards out with 7:03 to play in the first quarter.

But Loyola took advantage of an interception by Price Watkins, and early in the second quarter pulled to within 7-6 on a 4-yard run by Joshua Stewart.

The extra point was no good.

Myrick found the end zone for the second time with 5:24 to play in the half, scoring on a 3-yard run, and the Eaglets took a 14-6 lead.

The guys in red and black had a chance to add to it before the break, but shortly after converting on fourth down inside the 20, St. Mary’s faced another fourth down at the 8-yard line but was stopped with just 14.4 seconds to play.

Loyola took the ball back and ran out the half trailing 14-6.

The teams traded possessions in the third quarter, but on the first play of the fourth, Pierce Bauer scored on an 8-yard run to give St. Mary’s a 21-6 advantage.

Josh Ross recovered a fumble for the Eaglets at the Loyola 27-yard line with 7:19 to play in regulation, and three plays later, John Kwiecinski nailed a 42-yard field goal for a 24-6 advantage.

On the very next play, though, Blain Woodland hauled in an 80-yard pass from Nicholas Lee to give the Bulldogs life, and after the failed two-point conversion, Loyola trailed 24-12 with 5:03 left.

The onside kick was recovered by St. Mary’s, though, and Loyola never got the ball back.

“A win,” Porritt said with a smile when asked what’s the biggest thing he took away from Week 1. “Its nice to get a W against a good team. We know we have to get better, a lot of improvement between the first and second games.”

Asked about the physicality that Loyola brought, Porritt said he wasn’t surprised at all.

“Three times in a row, they’ve played in the state championship,” he said. “I don’t care what class you are in — football is football, and they have some great kids.”

“They kept fighting, to be honest,” Myrick said of Loyola. “They kept bringing it. They’re a good team. They are a very good team.”

Myrick said Loyola’s defense impressed him the most.

“They have some hitters,” he said with a smile. “They keep fighting. Even when we’d run it down their throat, they’d come right back at us. I give them a lot of credit.”

Other scores
On Aug. 27, Trenton High defeated Southgate Anderson 37-0.

In the other game, Chippewa Valley beat Lake Orion 35-28.

On Aug. 28, Canton High defeated Dearborn Fordson 42-25, while Allen Park High cruised past Taylor Kennedy 54-0.

In the final day of the event, after St. Mary’s and Loyola got together, Detroit Martin Luther King came from behind to beat Warren De La Salle 12-10.

In the finale, Detroit Cass Tech shut out Southfield High 27-0.