Members of the Royal Oak Shrine football team celebrate a district final win over Britton Deerfield at home. The Knights beat the Patriots 23-6.

Members of the Royal Oak Shrine football team celebrate a district final win over Britton Deerfield at home. The Knights beat the Patriots 23-6.

Photo by Donna Dalziel


Shrine gets revenge, downs Britton Deerfield in district final

By: Jacob Herbert | Royal Oak Review | Published November 9, 2019

 Royal Oak Shrine's Anthony Massucci had two touchdowns against Britton Deerfield. The Knights will take on Fowler High at home next week in a Division 8 regional final.

Royal Oak Shrine's Anthony Massucci had two touchdowns against Britton Deerfield. The Knights will take on Fowler High at home next week in a Division 8 regional final.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

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ROYAL OAK — A lot can change in four weeks. On Oct. 11, Royal Oak Shrine traveled to Britton Deerfield and lost by double digits. The Knights had won seven straight games before that loss.

When the two teams met again Nov. 9 in a Division 8 district final it was a completely different ball game as the Knights had the double digit victory, 23-6 at home.

“This is amazing for this program and this school,” Shrine coach Oscar Olejniczak said. “I’m so proud of these kids, this is all about them. These kids have worked so hard and now they’re reaping the rewards.”

Defense has been a strength for the Knights all season as they had allowed 13.6 points per game heading into the district final. On the Patriots’ first play from scrimmage, quarterback Nico Johnson found Cooper Goble on a 61-yard touchdown connection.

Deerfield’s offense averaged 35.5 points this season but that touchdown would be the only scoring the Patriots would do for the rest of the game. 

Shrine’s defense also had an interception, a fumble recovery and three sacks on Johnson.

“Defense is our No. 1 thing,” Olejniczak said. "We’re about defense, physicality and playing as a family. We game plan on defense more than anything else. Our kids came out and they wanted it.”

The Knights opened their scoring on their opening drive as Charlie Mulcahy booted a 25-yard field goal through the uprights. 

Shrine’s first touchdown came courtesy of Jacob Sanders on a 6-yard run late in the first quarter. 

Knights quarterback Conor Benson made his mark with two touchdown passes that accounted for 54 yards. Both touchdowns were caught by Anthony Massucci. The first was on a 38-yard connection and the second one was from 16 yards out. 

Olejniczak said the regular season loss to the Patriots was due to a lack of execution and preparation on the part of the coaches.

“To be honest, we just didn’t do a good job in that game, and that will never happen again,” Olejniczak said. 

In his two years as head coach of Shrine, Olejniczak has 14 wins compared to seven losses. Last week he won his first playoff game with the Knights and now he can add a district championship trophy.

“We’ve really developed an overall program,” Olejniczak said. “We have everything that you need for a program and we’ve done it in two years, that’s what I’m really proud of. It’s hard to be a football player here at Shrine, and that’s why we’ve got 24 kids, but we’ve got 24 kids that will run through a wall. It’s a joy to coach them every day.”

The Knights improve to 9-2 on the season with the win and will host Fowler High at 1 p.m. Nov. 16 in a regional final. 

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