Fast Start Sends DeLaSalle Soaring

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

November 24, 2017

DETROIT – Brendan Madigan kept his promise.

He was on the field as a freshman in 2014 when Warren DeLaSalle won its first MHSAA Division 2 football championship. And he enjoyed it so much, he told himself he would come back and do it again.

On Friday, the senior captain led the Pilots to title No. 2, as they rolled to a 41-6 victory against Livonia Franklin again in Division 2 at Ford Field.

“I got to see those guys (in 2014), see what it was like and get the feeling of what it is,” Madigan said. “Ever since then, I made a promise to myself to get all of my guys back here and win it again, so it feels great.”

It was a brilliant finish to a season that started with immediate adversity following a 36-6 loss against Lowell during opening weekend. But the Pilots (12-2) responded positively and proved their worth week in and week out, winning the Detroit Catholic League Central title and knocking off two-time reigning Division 2 champion Detroit Martin Luther King on their way to Ford Field.

“Nobody thought we could do it after we lost to Lowell – and we lost by a lot,” said DeLaSalle junior Evan Vaillancourt, who had 160 yards receiving and a touchdown Friday. “But we came back and had the best practice we had, and played really good (in Week 2) against Grandville, then we played good from there on.”

There was no adversity to deal with in the title game, as DeLaSalle found itself ahead 7-0 just 16 seconds in, and without having put its offense on the field.

Madigan recovered a snap that had sailed over the Franklin backfield and ran 13 yards for the touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. It was the first time since 2005 that the first play from scrimmage had resulted in a touchdown in an MHSAA Final.

“I saw the ball go over (the quarterback’s) head, and immediately I knew I had to scoop it up,” Madigan said. “It bounced good, I got to pick it up and run it in. (DeLaSalle junior) Jacob Dobbs even helped me get in, carrying me a little bit. It felt great to start the game out with points even when they started with the ball.”

DeLaSalle scored 21 points off three first-half Franklin turnovers.

“We knew going in that we couldn’t get them extra opportunities, and that’s kind of what we did there in the first half,” Franklin coach Chris Kelbert said. “Just momentum never got on our side, and that’s one of the things we had to do to win, to beat a team that good, and it just didn’t work out for us.”

DeLaSalle proved it didn’t need good field position to score points, averaging 8.0 yards per play and racking up 313 yards of offense. Senior quarterback Luke Pfromm accounted for 207 of those yards through the air, as he was 10 of 12 passing with a pair of touchdowns.

“I thought (Pfromm’s performance) was decent,” DeLaSalle coach Mike Giannone said with a laugh. “I would say he was on. Some of the things we do, play-action passing, some of the deep balls and other things that he can see – he’s developed into a real fine quarterback, and I think someone out there is going to really get a steal.”

Franklin (11-3), which was playing in its first Final since winning the first MHSAA Class A title in 1975, appeared unfazed by the unfortunate start, driving all the way to the DeLaSalle 5-yard line on the next possession. But that was as close as the Patriots would get, turning the ball over on downs before seeing the Pilots put together a 93-yard drive of their own and go up 14-0 on 60-yard pass from Pfromm to Vaillancourt.

Turnovers on Franklin’s next two possessions allowed the Pilots to essentially put the game away in the second quarter. A Josh DeBerry interception set up a 2-yard Pfromm touchdown run, and a fumble recovery set up 4-yard touchdown pass from Pfromm to Sergio Gasperoni.

“We’ve made some plays defensively (this season); we put pressure on people,” Giannone said. “One of our coaches says, with pressure, the pipes burst.”

A 2-yard touchdown run from Cordell Tannyhill and a 23-yard field goal by Riley Garrison gave DeLaSalle a 38-0 lead heading into halftime. Garrison added a 30-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.

Franklin’s lone score came on a 5-yard run by Isaac Moore, which he set up with a 72-yard run on the previous play. Moore led the Franklin offense with 160 yards on the ground.

Click for the full box score.

The MHSAA Playoffs are sponsored by the Michigan Army National Guard.

PHOTOS: (Top) Warren DeLaSalle’s Semaj Shelton (12) leaps past a defender's outstretched arm during Friday’s Division 2 Final. (Middle) Pilots quarterback Luke Pfromm rolls out looking for an open receiver.

Ubly Offense, Kicker Pile Up Record Book Listings During Championship Run

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

April 12, 2024

Ubly finished a combined 27-1 over the last two seasons, following up a Division 8 runner-up run in 2022 with its first MHSAA Finals championship this past November. And the Bearcats stacked plenty of record book performances along the way.

Individually, senior Brett Mueller made the single-season extra point list again this past season with 76 in 81 tries, and he set the MHSAA career record with 220 extra points over 232 attempts, 40 games and three seasons. He has signed with Saginaw Valley State.

As a team, Ubly was added to the record book 13 times for achievements over the last two years, most notably in the rushing game. The Bearcats topped 5,200 total yards both seasons, and also made the rush yardage list twice including with a sixth-best 5,148 in 2022. Their 90 touchdowns in 2022 rank seventh all-time, and their 85 this past fall tied for 13th, and they tied the record with 10 rushing touchdowns in a 2022 win over Reese and set another record with 84 rushing touchdowns total that season.

See below for more recent record book additions in 11-player football, and click the heading to see the record book in full:

11-Player Football

Dundee’s Ben Miller has a pair of basketball record book entries, and he’s also been added in football for scoring seven touchdowns in his team’s 72-36 win over Erie Mason on Oct. 20, 2017. A senior that season, he ran for five scores and caught two touchdowns passes.

Nearly four decades later, Howard City Tri County’s Mike Wagoner has reached the record book for his work on defense in 1985. A junior that season, Wagoner returned three interceptions for touchdowns – 65, 55 and 35 yards – which would have been second on the list at the time and remains tied for third-most for one season.

Jaxon Lippert tops the list of 21 who have returned kickoffs 99 yards. Lippert, now a senior at Walled Lake Western, joined the list against Davison during his junior season.

A handful of records from Warren De La Salle Collegiate’s recent run of Ford Field teams and also one from decades ago were added. Jake Badalamenti was added three times for kickoff returns between 96-99 yards, one as a junior in 2016 and two as a senior the following fall, and Marty Wyzlic was added for his 95-yarder in 1976. Mason Muragin is the new leader for tackles for loss in a career with 71 over three seasons, and he also was added to the single-season list with 31 as a junior in 2021, as was Will Beasley for 38 as a junior in 2020. Wayne Wright was added for his 16 sacks over nine games as a senior in 1984, and Josh Cox was added for his 100-yard interception return as a senior in 2012. Muragin plays at Illinois, Beesley plays at Princeton, Cox played at Central Michigan, and Badalamenti played baseball at Wayne State.

Pinckney junior Nolan Carruthers caught 16 passes during a 13-7 loss to Jackson on Sept. 15, good to tie for ninth-most in one game and breaking the Livingston County record of 14 by Hartland’s Greg Matthyssen in 2007 – a listing that also was added.

Ethan Wissner did some major lifting, or rather carrying, during Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker’s 28-14 District Final win over Montrose in 2022. The then-senior ran 42 times to make the record book, for 289 yards and three touchdowns. He’s continuing at Siena Heights.

Senior quarterback Andrew Schuster and junior receiver DeShaun Lanier formed a game-changing pass-catch combo this past season for Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, with Schuster finishing his career with nine record book listings and Lanier totaling six with a season to play. Schuster most notably was added for 212 completions on 301 attempts for 2,766 yards and 28 touchdowns this season, and 321 completions and 4,199 career yards over two years and 22 games. Lanier was added in part for 73 receptions for 1,132 yards and 15 TDs this fall. Junior kicker Juliano Haddad also earned impressive mentions with 10 field goals and 50 extra points – and he’ll carry a streak of 35 straight extra points into next fall. Schuster has committed to Grand Valley State.

Fulton’s Evan Barton has been added to the single-game touchdowns list after catching four scoring passes Sept. 8, 2017, against Potterville. He was a senior that season.

Saginaw Heritage’s Braylon Isom completed his career this past fall as arguably the most accomplished receiver in MHSAA history. His name is listed in the record book eight times, with career records of 3,837 receiving yards and 52 touchdowns over 34 games and four seasons, and with a single-season record 26 touchdowns this past fall over 12 games. His 91 career receptions rank fifth, and he’s also listed for 82 catches and 1,617 yards (seventh-most) as a senior and 1,428 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior. He will continue at Miami (Ohio).

Evart’s 24-8 run over the last three seasons has been its most successful of the MHSAA playoff era, and senior quarterback Preston Wallace has played an enormous part. He finished his 33-game career in the fall – he came up for one game as a freshman – on record book lists twice for single-season passing yards and touchdowns and on career lists for 662 attempts, 421 completions, 6,955 yards and 88 passing touchdowns over those 32 games and three seasons. The yardage ranks 15th all-time, and the touchdowns are tied for sixth-most for one career.  

The 2005 Midland Bullock Creek team was added for scoring 547 points over 12 games. The Lancers finished 11-1, their only loss in a Division 5 Regional Final.

PHOTO Ubly's Seth Maurer (30) carries the ball during the Division 8 championship win over Ottawa Lake Whiteford in November.