Drogosh Closing Career of Unforgettable Impact on De La Salle Football

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

November 23, 2022

Dan Rohn admitted that the thought started to “hit me a little bit” on Tuesday. 

Greater DetroitRohn, the head football coach and athletic director at Warren De La Salle Collegiate, is obviously trying to focus entirely on Friday’s Division 2 championship game against Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central.

However, this week it has started to strike him that pretty soon, he’s going to have to get used to life without senior quarterback Brady Drogosh. 

From the moment Drogosh started school at De La Salle as a freshman, Rohn said he has been “my quarterback,” having constant meetings in his office before school and texting countlessly throughout the day about school, football and life in general.

“We do this to build relationships with kids, and I’ve got a pretty special one with Brady Drogosh,” Rohn said. 

And make no doubt, Drogosh will be a hard one for even a power like De La Salle to replace. 

In three years as a starter, Drogosh has accumulated 7,784 yards of total offense – 3,152 rushing yards, 4,632 passing yards – and 98 total touchdowns (46 rushing, 56 passing). 

This season, the 6-foot-5, 200-pound Drogosh has run for 1,188 yards and 17 touchdowns and completed 119-of-179 passes for 2,015 yards and 33 touchdowns – that 33 amounting to 10 more than he had his sophomore and junior seasons combined. 

“Brady is that level, where if anything is going wrong, I don’t have to tell him now when he comes off of the field because he knows,” Rohn said. “That’s how you can tell someone has arrived.”

Drogosh will be making his third-straight start for De La Salle in a Final, and the seeds for his great high school career were planted through failure in his first at Ford Field as a sophomore. 

In a 25-19 loss to Muskegon Mona Shores, Drogosh struggled in his start and was benched in the second half.

“He struggled, and he’ll openly admit that he didn’t have full grasp of the situation,” Rohn said. “It was definitely a learning moment for Brady.” 

As painful as it was, it also lit a fire in him.

“I know as I was walking off of the field, I turned to two of my sophomores saying I don’t want to feel like this again,” Drogosh said. “I think that was the fuel for me.”

Pilots assistant coach Karl Featherstone, right, brings a smile to Drogosh’s face. Indeed, as Drogosh had an outstanding junior year which culminated in De La Salle defeating Traverse City Central in last year’s Division 2 Final, 41-14. 

Then came the offseason, when Drogosh started his journey to becoming miles better as a senior. 

He flew to California and participated in the Elite 11 quarterback competition, where he competed with some of the country’s best quarterbacks and learned under camp counselors who are some of the best college quarterbacks in the nation this year, including Alabama’s Bryce Young, USC’s Caleb Williams and UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson. 

“You had three Heisman candidates there, so might as well learn anything you can,” Drogosh said. 

An elite rusher last year, Drogosh has skyrocketed his career passing totals, becoming what Rohn dubbed as a “true dual-threat quarterback.”

“I definitely think my decision-making and accuracy has been better,” Drogosh said. 

Not only does Drogosh not have much time left as a high school football player, he also doesn’t have much time remaining as a student in general.

Drogosh will sign in December to play at University of Cincinnati and become an early enrollee starting classes Jan. 7.

Rohn said throughout the recruitment process with Drogosh, college coaches said the No. 1 thing about him they were worried about was his throwing mechanics. But Rohn feels Drogosh being around a full-time quarterback coach in college will rectify any of those concerns.

“Him focusing on someone who can work with him 1-on-1 and develop his mechanics, I think he’s really going to take off,” Rohn said. 

Also a member of De La Salle’s Division 1 championship basketball team last year, Drogosh will forgo the upcoming basketball season.

A 4.0 student, Drogosh said he’ll be able to come back in the spring for the school’s graduation ceremony and walk the stage with his classmates, but his official graduation party will come on Dec. 21 when he officially signs with the Bearcats. 

“There will be a graduation party,” Drogosh said with a laugh, adding teammate Mason Muragin, an Illinois commit, also will participate in the festivities. 

But before that, Drogosh and De La Salle are fully focused on pursuing a repeat championship against Forest Hills Central.

There will be plenty of time for career reflection and lifelong relationships made afterwards.

But no doubt, when Friday comes and goes, one of the biggest sentiments of all will be that it’s going to be awfully hard to replace Brady Drogosh. 

Keith DunlapKeith Dunlap has served in Detroit-area sports media for more than two decades, including as a sportswriter at the Oakland Press from 2001-16 primarily covering high school sports but also college and professional teams. His bylines also have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle and the Boston Globe. He served as the administrator for the Oakland Activities Association’s website from 2017-2020. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Warren De La Salle quarterback Brady Drogosh (12) pulls away from a Traverse City Central defender during last season’s Division 2 Final. (Middle) Pilots assistant coach Karl Featherstone, right, brings a smile to Drogosh’s face.

Mendon 8-Player Championship Game Run Paced by Record-Setting Rushing

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

May 26, 2023

Mendon’s run to the Division 2 Final last fall included some of the strongest rushing performances over the history of 8-player football.

The Hornets ran for 4,317 yards, second-most all-time, on the second-most attempts (520) and with a record-setting 682 yards Oct. 14 against Marcellus. Mendon also set the record for total offense with 692 total in that game, and made the single-season touchdowns list with 76 including 66 rushing (also second on that list).

Junior Jack McCaw made the single-season scoring list with 212 points, most coming on 29 touchdowns, and Evan Lukeman made the single-game rushing list with 401 yards against Marcellus. Mendon’s defense also earned praise, twice making the fewest-first-downs-allowed list with a low of three.

See below for more recent additions to the 8-player portion of the football record book:

8-Player Football

Athens’ Landon Bennett earned a pair of record book entries after reaching the end zone seven times during his team’s 72-0 win over Burr Oak on Sept. 8. His seven scores are tied for third-most in 8-player history and included three rushing, three on punt returns and one on an interception return. The three punt return touchdowns are a record. Bennett is a junior.

On the night Powers North Central broke its 8-player record for consecutive wins, claiming its 28th straight, senior Luke Gorzinski tied Jets great Jason Whitens for the record for interception touchdowns in a game with two, scoring on returns during the second and fourth quarters. Gorzinski has signed with Michigan Tech, and North Central’s winning streak is 37 games and counting.

A pair of Atlanta offensive playmakers and a top defensive lineman earned a total of seven entries in the record book for achievements last fall. Senior quarterback Tyler Currie threw for 30 touchdowns over eight games, and also made the records for six touchdowns and 419 passing yards against Whittemore-Prescott on Sept. 23; the passing yards are second-most for one 8-player game. Sophomore Landon Galea was added for 263 yards and five of those touchdowns against the Cardinals, and also for 1,418 yards receiving and 23 touchdowns over nine games. Junior teammate Tucker Kendrick made the tackles for loss list with five against Hillman on Oct. 6.

Adrian Lenawee Christian senior Brady McKelvey became the first to make the career extra points list in 8-player football this past fall. He bettered his previous single-season record making 64 of 66 extra-point attempts over 11 games and finishing his two-year varsity career with 123 extra points in 127 tries.

Sam McKissack reached the record book showcasing multiple skills for Crystal Falls Forest Park during the 2021 season – twice for rushing attempts in a game including with a record 59 against Ontonagon that Sept. 10, and then with a record 70-yard punt Oct. 30, 2021, against Lake Linden-Hubbell. Teammate Devon Basirico also made the record book with six fumble recoveries over 11 games that season. As a team, Forest Park was added twice for single-game rushing attempts – including 73 total in that Ontonagon game – and for 424 rushes over 11 games for the season. McKissack and Basirico are seniors this spring.

Nikolaus Lewis tied for eighth-most rushing touchdowns in an 8-player game when he reached the end zone six times for Carsonville-Port Sanilac in its win over Caseville on Oct. 7. He’s a senior this spring.

Bridgman has won 24 straight games over the last three seasons, and an exceptional offense – and exceptional offensive star – have played major roles. The Bees were added for 658 total yards in a win over Lawrence last season, that total ranking third all-time, and also 613 yards in a win over Eau Claire. Those included totals of 575 and 547 rushing yards, respectively, and Bridgman was added for 3,598 rushing yards (sixth on the list), 59 rushing touchdowns (fourth) and 76 total touchdowns (seventh). Senior Reid Haskins capped his four-year, 32-game varsity career with 13 record book entries, including for 254 points last season over nine games (tied for fifth all-time) and a record 620 career points, 41 touchdowns last season (fifth) and a record 95 for his career, 2,344 rushing yards last season (third) and a record 5,206 for his career, and 41 rushing touchdowns last season (third) and a record 94 for his career. Senior teammate Tanner Peters made the records three times including for 50 extra points last season (fourth) and 99 over 26 games and three seasons (second on the career list).

Mio's Austin Fox rewrote the 8-player passing record book this past fall, with his 621 yards in a game against Whittemore-Prescott setting a single-game record as he totaled four of the five-highest passing yardage totals. He also set a record with 3,516 over nine games for the season, another record with 289 passing attempts over those nine games and a third record for nine touchdown passes in that game against the Cardinals. His 41 touchdown passes total rank fourth. Teammates Gage Long and Nathan Hurst also earned several record book entries on the receiving end of those passes. Long’s 297 receiving yards against Whittemore-Prescott were tied for third most, and Hurst’s 266 against Alcona rank eighth. Long set a single-season record with 1,739 receiving yards, with Hurst sixth all-time at 1,321, and Long’s 14 receptions against the Cardinals and 70 for the season also rank second on those respective lists. Hurst set a record for longest 8-player kickoff return with a 99-yarder against St. Helen Charlton Heston. All three are seniors.

Peck was one of the first MHSAA 8-player champions, claiming the title in 2013, and Cody Abrego one of the state’s first 8-player stars. The Pirates were added to the MHSAA record book 52 times, and Abrego 14 times individually. Among the most notable entries for the 2015 graduate were for 462 points scored over his two-season career (ranking sixth all-time), 74 career touchdowns (sixth), 2,202 rushing yards in 2013 (fifth) and 35 rushing touchdowns in 2013 (sixth). Current senior Caleb Lentner was one of the stars statewide this past season, and he was added eight times including for 50 points scored in a game (ranking second), 272 points for a season last fall (fifth), eight touchdowns in a game (tied for second), 42 touchdowns in a season (fifth), an 8-player record of 2,694 rushing yards from last season, and 38 rushing touchdowns also last fall (fourth). Others to make the individual lists were Nathan Robar, Caleb Dudley, Steven VanConant, Kyle Abrego and Nathan Neihaus, Dudley for a record 20 career interceptions over two seasons and VanConant for a record 12 tackles for loss in a 2022 game and 36 tackles for loss for the season last fall. The Pirates also are all over the 8-player team record book, including for a record 97 touchdowns in 2013, a record 5,895 yards of total offense that season, 528 carries, 4,346 rushing yards and 73 rushing touchdowns in 2013 (all ranking second); and 24 interceptions in 2014, which ranks second on that list.

Senior quarterback JR Hildebrand was one of the most dynamic players in 8-player football in the fall in leading Martin to the Division 1 title. He had one of his most exciting nights in a playoff opener against Tekonsha, making the single-game touchdown pass list with six in a 68-6 victory.

PHOTO Mendon’s Jack McCaw (21) eludes a tackle during the 8-Player Division 2 Final in November at Northern Michigan University. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)