Saturday night's Detroit Catholic League championship game between the Orchard Lake St. Mary's Eaglets and the Birmingham Brother Rice Warriors had all the build up of a college rivalry game. The two teams squared off again after the Eaglets prevailed 24-21 in a game that was clouded by controversy the week previous. In the first half of their previous meeting, the Brother Rice staff accused an Orchard Lake teacher that was working on the chain-gang of signaling in plays from the Rice sideline. Their complaints resulted in the teacher being ejected for the second half. The uproar over the alleged incident was so loud that it garnered coverage from both the print and television media. When they met for the second time Saturday at Ford Field, St. Mary's was out to remove any doubt at to who was the better team.
The Eaglets defense dominated from the start to finish and their offense was stellar…or should I say Siller. Justin Siller showed he was a capable quarterback, throwing touchdown passes of 71 and 12 yards. The first touchdown was a beautifully thrown spiral down the right sideline to Nick Koenigsknecht who outran the defense for the score. On the second touchdown, Siller showed his touch by dropping in a pass to Anthony Bowman in front of a trailing defender. The win was a team effort according to Siller. "We came out with a lot of intensity we worked hard on some things in practice and the defense came out and did a good job," he said.
Siller's coach, George Porritt, said the junior signal caller deserved a lot of the credit. "He hit the big pass when we needed it," Porritt said. "He has good feet and he did a nice job finding a couple of receivers for us."
Brother Rice only had a few scoring opportunities in the game. The first chance occurred at the end of the second quarter, but their fourth down try 11 yards from pay-dirt was thwarted by the Eaglet defense. The Warriors were down 20-0 when they finally put some points on board late in the fourth quarter to make the final score 20-7.
Regarding the previous week's controversy, Porritt downplayed the significance and indicated he discussed it with Brother Rice head man Al Fracassa prior to the game. "Everything is okay now," he said. It was great that the contest was all about the game and the kids…just as it should be. Both teams played clean and hard and when it was over they congratulated each other.
While the hatchet may now be buried, it certainly provided sufficient motivation for the Eaglet players heading into the game. "We just worked hard and played it like it was a regular game," St. Mary's corner Dionte Allen said. "There was a lot of stuff said about our team…that we cheated and stuff like that…so we just took it out on them on the field. That's probably why we played so well. We were so mad. I definitely was mad. I believe that with as hard as our team works everyday, we shouldn't have to go through stuff like that. Coach said just keep playing and leave it on the field."
Dionte Allen (#1 in red)
Allen's emotion is clearly an asset for his team and his athleticism is the centerpiece of a terrific defense that is built around sure tackling, speed, and more speed. "He is a great cover corner," Porritt said. "We put him out there a lot of times and isolate him by himself. He is a kid who loves that and does a very good job of it."
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine in the coming hours and days for more comments
from Allen, (who is one of the top targets on Michigan's board for the class
of 07), and from a plethora of highly touted juniors that put their skills on
display in the contest.
Sam Webb contributed to this article.