DETROIT — The 2019 high school football season got underway as Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice took on Utica Eisenhower Aug. 29 at Tom Adams field on the campus of Wayne State University. Both defenses would prove to be dominant, but the Rice offense did just enough to lead the Warriors to a 7-0 win.
“I’m happy with 1-0. I don’t care about how it was or how many points,” Rice coach Adam Korzeniewski said. “This was a huge game for us. I respect the heck out of Eisenhower.”
Defense dominated the first half as only one team was able to find the end zone. With 5:14 to play in the first half, Rice quarterback Greg Piscopink put the Warriors up 7-0 when the senior took a 7-yard keeper to the house. Other than that score, the Warriors struggled to move the ball downfield.
“All I know is I called the play out to my lineman. They blocked the guys they needed to block. I saw a lane and I went through it,” Piscopink said. “It wasn’t just a ‘me’ effort, it was a team effort.”
Piscopink finished the game 14 of 22 with 139 yards through the air. On the ground, the senior signal-caller finished with 29 yards and one touchdown on 13 rushes.
The Eisenhower offense also had its share of struggles in the opening half. Quarterback Blake Rastigue was sacked three times and besides one failed fourth-down conversion, Eisenhower punted to end every offensive possession.
As the second half got underway, the Eisenhower offense began to open things up more and take shots down the field. But even with the halftime adjustments, Rastigue would be sacked five more times in the second half.
“It’s great to have a defense who you know you can trust,” Piscopink said. “Even if you turn the ball over, you know you’re going to get the ball back in just a few plays. They were playing their heart out tonight, and I loved it.”
Even with all of the offensive struggles, the Eagles still found themselves with a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. With 2:24 left in the game, Ike took over at its own 20-yard line.
After an incompletion on first down, Rastigue would connect with Aiden Ives and Jack Wittwer on back-to-back throws to move the Eagles over midfield to the Rice 47-yard line.
Then, when it needed to most, the Rice defense came up big with back-to-back sacks. With little time left on the clock and a fourth down looming, Rastigue threw a pass to Ethan Barker that fell incomplete. However, a defensive pass interference call on the Warriors allowed for fourth down to be replayed.
With a fourth and 4 from the Rice 36-yard line and a chance to tie the game, Eisenhower failed to convert.
Despite the loss, Ike coach Chris Smith took away plenty of positives to carry on into the rest of the season.
“I thought defensively we were outstanding,” Smith said. “We have a lot of young guys on defense, I think we had 10 juniors out on that field. We played tough, caused a lot of turnovers and caused some havoc. They gave us a chance to win the game, but offensively we’ve got to get better.”
While Smith was impressed with the entire defensive unit, Anthony Cardamone, Mario Getaw and Ian West were all standout players in the eyes of the coach.
The Eagles will look to rebound Sept. 6 when they take on Warren Cousino at 7 p.m. at home.
Brother Rice will look to continue its winning ways when the Warriors host Ontario’s Windsor Holy Names at 7 p.m. Sept. 5.