October 12, 2017Football head coach Tim Brandon and his staff stood on the sidelines and shared handshakes after the final horn sounded of Grosse Pointe South’s big 31-20 win over host Anchor Bay last weekend.
Both teams entered the game undefeated in the Macomb Area Conference White Division.
“Our offensive line really stepped up against a good Anchor Bay team in a big game,” Brandon said. “The plan was good on both sides of the ball. The intensity was there, even after the two tough losses we had.
“I’m proud of the boys for stepping up and playing with a lot on the line.”
photo by bob bruce
South junior quarterback Ryan Downey gets around the corner during a run against Anchor Bay.
The Blue Devils needed the win to not only get the inside track at winning the MAC White, but keep their state playoff hopes alive.
They can win a second straight MAC White title on their home turf Friday, Oct. 13, against L’Anse Creuse North.
“Our guys will be all business in preparation for LCN,” Brandon said.
The key to the win was a dominant performance by the offensive line. They allowed their teammates to rush for nearly 250 yards and four touchdowns.
Junior running back Conor McKenna rushed for 173 yards on 23 carries with one touchdown and junior quarterback Ryan Downey had 65 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns.
Senior Cam Shook was his usual confident self, making his only field goal try and was 4-for-4 on extra points.
The defense also stepped up with a couple of big fourth-down stops in the second half. They bent, but didn’t break, allowing only 14 points to the explosive Tars.
The teams traded touchdowns in the first half with Downey rushing for both scores and Shook kicked a 35-yard field goal with under a minute left in the second quarter to give the Blue Devils a 17-14 lead.
The Tars took their first possession of the second half, which started at South’s 35-yard line, and came up short on a field-goal try. The snap was fumbled and they never got off the kick.
The Blue Devils used the momentum shift and 10 plays to drive 73 yards to score again. Downey scored on a 1-yard run and Shook’s PAT made it 24-14 late in the third quarter.
McKenna broke off a 40-yard touchdown run on the Blue Devils’ next possession and all of a sudden the visitors had a 31-14 lead with only 8:26 left in the game.
The Tars got a score back to close the gap, but senior Brennan Zihlman blocked the extra point.
After that, the Blue Devils’ offensive line allowed their running game to get a few first downs and run the clock.
The defense did its part, too, getting the ball back to the offense with a couple of fourth down stops.
Downey also completed 7-of-13 passes for 89 yards with McKenna catching two for 19 yards. Senior Jermaine Young had three receptions for 52 yards and senior Jacob Hinkle caught two passes for 18 yards.
Grosse Pointe South improved to 4-0 in the MAC White and 4-3 overall.
“We want to win an outright, not share it,” Brandon said.