Birmingham Brother Rice high schools' Sergio Perkvoic makes the catch against Muskegon high schools' Jordon Waire during third quarter action in the Division 2 state championship on Nov. 23, 2012 at Ford Field.(KIRTHMON F. DOZIER/DFP)
DETROIT (DETROIT FREE PRESS) - Who said 80-year-old Al Fracassa isn't keeping up with the times?
Brother Rice had just allowed the tying touchdown, when the Warriors' coaching staff went into its bag of tricks.
Delano Madison received the Muskegon kickoff, ran 5 yards before throwing an across-the-field lateral pass to Jason Alessi, who raced the final 91 yards with 2 minutes, 13 seconds left to play, giving the Warriors a dramatic 35-28 Division 2 state title victory over the Big Reds on Friday at Ford Field.
"We practiced that last week," Fracassa admitted. "One of my coaches, Dave Sofran ...I said, 'Dave I don't know if we can do that.' He kept doing it every day because he was in charge of the kicking game."
Rice won back-to-back titles for the first time in school history.
"I thought we had the play covered," said Muskegon coach Shane Fairfield of the kick return. "I thought we left two or three touchdowns out there in the second half."
Muskegon tied the game at 28 on a 51-yard pass from backup quarterback Deshaun Thrower to Keondre Craig.
"Brother Rice has probably had 15 NFL players and to be able to say our seniors were part of the team that went back-to-back ... It's unbelievable," said senior linebacker Jon Reschke, who finished his career with nine tackles.
With the score tied at 21, Rice went for the home run and got it on a flea-flicker with Alex Malzone hitting Corey Lacanaria in stride for a 77-yard TD pass to make it 28-21.
Rice linebacker Jack Grisan forced a bad pitch from quarterback Jalen Smith. Shaun Jones Jr. recovered at the Big Reds' 12 with 9:43 to play.
Shon Powell (seven carries, 97 yards) turned the mistake into a 12-yard TD run to give Rice a 21-14 lead.
The teams combined for 35 points in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 14-0, Javontae Langston got the Big Reds on the board with a 2-yard run with 6:28 left in the half. But Muskegon suffered a setback when star runner and linebacker John King Jr. left the game with a left shoulder injury and didn't return until the third quarter.
Smith hurt his ankle at the Rice 3-yard line on Muskegon's next drive, but Thrower came in and scored on a 1-yard TD run in the third to tie the game at 14.
Contact Perry A. Farrell: 313-222-2555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.