Royal Oak High running back Earle Weaver races toward the end zone Sept. 13 in a game against Berkley High on the road. Weaver scored two touchdowns in the Ravens 17-7 win.

Royal Oak High running back Earle Weaver races toward the end zone Sept. 13 in a game against Berkley High on the road. Weaver scored two touchdowns in the Ravens 17-7 win.

Photo by Mariusz Nowak

Royal Oak High tops Berkley High to retain 'The Curb'

By: Jacob Herbert | C&G Newspapers | Published September 13, 2019

BERKLEY — Berkley High and Royal Oak High came into the Week 3 matchup winless. The Ravens dropped games to St. Clair Shores Lakeview and Farmington High while the Bears had fallen to Ortonville Brandon and North Farmington.

Something had to give, and it did as the Ravens came out on top 17-7 Sept. 13 at Hurley Field. 

“It feels really good,” Royal Oak coach Ray McMann said, his team now 1-1 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division. “These guys put in so much effort and time. It’s pretty exciting to beat Berkley. The Curb stays in Royal Oak.”

The Ravens scored the game’s first points as a result of a Berkley fumble.  

The Ravens recovered and Tommy Gardella made a 22-yard field goal to put to give Royal Oak a lead it would never relinquish.

The lead would stay the same until midway through the second quarter. With just over seven minutes to play in the half, Ravens quarterback Hunter Gibson connected with Stephen Metcalfe on a 25-yard pass to set his offense up inside the at the 5-yard line. 

Metcalfe’s one handed, circus-like grab was all Earle Weaver needed. The senior tailback punched the ball into the end zone on a 5-yard carry to extend the Ravens lead to 10-0.

“He didn’t play last week because he was hurt, and I think he was anxious to get back out there,” McMann said about Weaver. “We kept saying if we keep going outside, the middle will open up. Our backside guard Quincy Mendez made the block and he (Weaver) was gone.”

Weaver finished the night with 138 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. His second score came on a 40-yard run with 1:59 remaining in the third quarter. 

Down 17-0 late in the fourth quarter, the Bears showed some fight. With just over five minutes to play in the game, Berkley started a drive from its own 17-yard line. Patrick Welch made the bulk of the plays as the senior’s number was called on four straight plays, guiding his team to the 2-yard line of Royal Oak.

Quarterback Hunter Kiesling finished the job with a 2-yard quarterback sneak to give the Bears their first and only score of the game.

Berkley coach Sean Shields commended his team’s resilience after the game.

“I told the kids I’m very proud of them,” Shields said, his team 0-2 in the OAA Blue. “I went into the defensive huddle and I said ‘fight, hold them up, try to rip the ball out. Do what you can to try to get us the ball back,' and they did. I’m proud of our guys fighting till the end.”

Berkley’s offense was stalled by penalties all night long. The second-year coach said his team committed 10 penalties and the offense was the culprit on nine of them. Any offensive momentum the Bears found was killed by yellow laundry.

The Ravens will look to continue their winning ways next week when they take on Auburn Hills Avondale at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at home.

The Bears, still searching for their first win, will look to do so Sept. 20 when they travel to face Pontiac Notre Dame Prep. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

“If we want to be a playoff team, we have to run the table now and it doesn’t get any easier,” Shields said. “We go into Notre Dame next week and hopefully take one away from them at home.”