Birmingham Seaholm's Jackson Vance looks to gain the edge Nov. 8 in a Division 2 district final against Birmingham Groves. Vance had two scores in the Maples win.

Birmingham Seaholm's Jackson Vance looks to gain the edge Nov. 8 in a Division 2 district final against Birmingham Groves. Vance had two scores in the Maples win.

Photo by Donna Dalziel


Seaholm stuns Groves in D-2 district final

By: Jacob Herbert | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published November 8, 2019

 Groves' Clayton Fox gets around a Seaholm defender in a district final game at home. The Falcons finish the season 8-3 overall.

Groves' Clayton Fox gets around a Seaholm defender in a district final game at home. The Falcons finish the season 8-3 overall.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

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BIRMINGHAM — Birmingham Seaholm had not won a district title since 2001. In the 18 years since that 53-7 win over Warren Woods Tower, the Maples have played in just five district finals.

Plenty of streaks were broken Nov. 8 as the Maples beat Birmingham Groves 42-7 on the road to win a Division 2 district title and snap a seven-game losing streak against the Falcons that spanned across six seasons.

“This means a lot,” Seaholm coach Jim DeWald said. “I think Brendan Flaherty does a phenomenal job with Groves. I’m just pleased that we were able to come out, execute and beat them tonight.”

The Maples jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. On its opening possession of the game, Seaholm found paydirt courtesy of a 9-yard run from Jackson Vance. Vance finished with 107 rushing yards, averaging 7.1 yards per carry.

In the blink of an eye, the Maples would tack on two more scores, one on a 7-yard touchdown run by Miles Mentag and the other via an 88-yard run from Chaz Strecker.

DeWald said Strecker, who scored three total touchdowns in the game, has been a bellcow all season long and has made a substantial impact on both sides of the ball. Strecker lead the Maples in rushing with 163 yards and averaged 10.2 yards per carry.

“He’s a stud,” DeWald said. “He’s done it all season long, and he’s done it on both sides of the ball. He’s a tough kid, not very big, but he’s got the heart of a lion.”

After three straight punts, the Falcons got on the board with 3:13 remaining in the fist half as Ralph Donaldson capped off a two-play 60-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown run to account for the Falcons' only score on the night. 

The Maples responded on their next drive as Strecker scored his second touchdown of the night on a 5-yard run. Seaholm led 28-7 at the break. Strecker’s third touchdown of the game preceded a Groves interception.

Four plays later, the senior carried in a 7-yard score. 

“Our offensive line really showed up today,” Seaholm quarterback Caleb Knoer said. “We blew them off the line, which is what we hope they do every week. Our game plan is always to get our running backs going, and our offensive line did a really good job of making that happen.”

Just as he opened the scoring, Vance would also close it on a 1-yard run as Seaholm reached 42 points. Seaholm has not scored more than 42 points against Groves since 1995 when it scored 49.

Groves got behind the eight ball early and was unable to catch up. A blocked field goal early in the second half looked to be a turning point, but the Falcons would end up turning the ball over on downs on their next drive.

Turnovers also hurt Groves as it had one interception and one fumble to bring important drives to an end. The Falcons ended the game with 209 total yards on offense compared to Seaholm's 385.

The Falcons end the season at 8-3 overall and 5-1 in the Oakland Activities Association White Division.

“Football is really important to them,” Flaherty said. “Those guys are fun to coach. This is important to them. They’re not taking football, it’s not like knitting club. Unfortunately, we just didn’t play real well tonight.”

Seaholm advances and will play Port Huron High next week in a regional final. The date and time for the game have not yet been announced.

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