Gibraltar — In the immortal words of 1990s rock band Chumbawumba, senior Wyandotte Roosevelt quarterback Richie Miller got knocked down, but he got back up again.
Miller was in a bad way after a second-quarter interception put his team in a big hole. But it was his ability to bounce back minutes later that helped Wyandotte turn the tables on Gibraltar Carlson and capture its first Downriver League title since 2013 with a 24-20 comeback win Friday.
In a matchup of two undefeated teams, Wyandotte found itself down 13-3 midway through the second quarter. With the ball near midfield, Miller was baited into an interception by Carlson safety Tyler Koons, who jumped in front of a seemingly open receiver and returned the ball 50 yards to set up a score that staked Carlson a 20-3 lead with less than a minute remaining before halftime.
Miller, with the benefit of good field position due to a short kickoff, led a 46-yard touchdown drive before heading into halftime. He helped stem the tide with an eight-yard toss to senior receiver Ryley Stewart that trimmed the Carlson lead to 20-9 with eight seconds to play in the half.
“There’s no doubt in my mind we’re coming back at that point,” Miller said. “We’re conditioned that way.”
He was right.
Senior running back Allen Woodward, who was held to just 13 yards on eight carries in the first half, started to get things going in the third quarter, and that helped set up Miller and the passing game.
Woodward finished with 20 carries for 99 yards, including a touchdown on the opening drive of the third quarter that cut the Carlson lead to 20-17.
“We wanted to continue to feed him the ball,” Wyandotte coach Ron Adams said. “He’s a tremendous running back, and we were able to wear them down and control the line of scrimmage in the second half.”
Despite leading, Carlson (7-1, 7-1) tried a fake punt in its own territory on the ensuing drive. That failed, and Miller threw his second touchdown of the night, a four-yard strike on third-and-goal to Nico Fernandez that put Wyandotte on top for good.
“He didn’t play his best game tonight,” Adams said of Miller. “But he played his butt off and played good enough to get us the win. I’m proud of his performance.”
Miller finished 10-for-14 passing for 178 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Carlson, which made a living on the ground early on, was only able to muster 61 yards of offense in the second half.
It got the ball down to the Wyandotte 23 after starting at its own 1, but a big play by the defense, followed by an illegal motion penalty on the offense, sealed Carlson’s fate.
“Defense is the reason why we’re here,” Adams said. “We made some mistakes early on, but we came back in the second half and played the way we’ve played all year.”
Malik Ford led the way for Carlson with five carries for 83 yards, 74 of which came on a first quarter touchdown that put Carlson up 13-0.
More Friday games
Allen Park 43, Southgate Anderson 7: Niko Tiberia had 10 rushes for 66 yards and two touchdowns and had a receiving touchdown, and Jakob Marsee had a rushing and receiving touchdown for Allen Park (4-4, 4-4 Downriver League). Southgate Anderson os 3-5, 3-5.
Birmingham Brother Rice 44, Traverse City Central 36: Gregory Piscopink was 11-for-23 passing for 260 yards and two touchdowns, Colin Gardner had six receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns and Jack Moran had nine rushes for 68 yards and two touchdowns for Brother Rice (5-3). Traverse City Central is 5-3.
Birmingham Groves 35, Birmingham Seaholm 33: Colton Tinsley was 8-for-12 passing for 162 yards and two touchdowns, Chase Ford had 15 carries for 136 yards and three scores, and Damonte McCurdy recorded three rushes for 66 yards, three catches for 86 yards and a touchdown and 12 tackles for Groves (7-1, 6-1 OAA White). Saholm is 1-7, 1-6.
Clinton Township Chippewa 42, Sterling Heights Stevenson 0: Tommy Schuster went 6-for-8 passing with 146 yards and two touchdowns, Jacob Rybicki had three catches for 75 yards and a score, Marcel Lewis recorded an interception, and Brian Naidus returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown for Chippewa (7-1, 4-1 MAC Red). Stevenson is 2-6, 0-5.
Clinton Township Clintondale 12, New Haven 7: Carde Johnson picked up 165 yards and a touchdown, Deonte Higgins carried the ball 13 times for 89 yards and a touchdown, and Gleo Wade lad Clintondale (7-1, 3-1 MAC Bronze) with nine tackles. William Bakeman, Richard Washington, and Seth Maisano each had an interception. New Haven is 2-6, 2-2.
Dearborn Edsel Ford 35, Redford Union 28: Will Warano had 24 carries for 202 yards with four TDs for Ford (6-2, 4-2 WWAC Blue). Thorton Cain had 19 rushes for 210 yards and two scores for Union (3-5, 3-3 WWAC Red).
Detroit Denby 38, Detroit Delta Prep 0: Taivyon Buck threw two touchdowns, Armani White had 41 yards rushing with two scores, and Brandon Stevenson recorded a 23-yard TD catch with an interception and fumble recovery for Denby (6-1, 4-1 PSL Black). Delta Prep is 5-3, 4-1 PSL Gold.
Grosse Pointe North 45, Roseville 28: Sheldon Cage had 38 carries for 265 yards and TDs of two, 27 and five yards, Bjorn Bjornsson went 7-for-14 passing with 151 yards and three scores, John Lizza recorded a 49-yard TD catch, and Pete Ciaravino had two touchdown receptions for North (5-2, 3-1 MAC Blue). Roseville is 5-3, 3-1.
Grosse Pointe South 34, L’Anse Creuse North 10: Conor McKenna had 26 rushes for 160 yards and two receptions for 40 yards, Jermaine Young had 10 rushes for 36 yards and had three receptions for 66 yards and two touchdowns and Riley Francis caught a 48-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Jacob Hinkle for South, which clinched its second straight MAC White title (5-3, 5-0 MAC White). L’Anse Creuse North is 1-7, 0-5.
Hamtramck 50, Harper Woods 14: Lawrence Napier went 12-for-17 passing for 246 yards and four touchdowns, Cameron Bell had six catches and three scores, Masai Ray had 206 yards rushing on nine carries with 11 tackles and three sacks on defense, and Kevin Williams recorded three catches including a 30-yard touchdown for Hamtramck (6-2, 4-1 Metro). Harper Woods is 2-5, 0-3.
Livonia Stevenson 31, Salem 10: Parker Graham was 15-for-24 passing for 281 yards with three TDs and rushed eight times for 27 yards, George Ferguson had five receptions for 152 yards and a touchdown, and Devin Dunn had four receptions for 105 yards and a TD for Stevenson (5-3, 3-3 KLAA Black). Ryan Young was 12-for-20 passing for 215 yards for Salem (4-4, 3-3 KLAA Black).
Novi 21, Northville 6: Kyle Klosterman racked up three touchdowns on the ground, picking up 151 yards on 18 touches while sharing the carries with Sean Gilliam, who ran the ball 21 times and amassed 191 yards for Novi (3-5, 2-4 KLAA Black). Nicholas Trystash had eight catches, 115 receiving yards, and the lone touchdown for Northville (3-5, 2-4 KLAA Gold).
Plymouth 35, Westland John Glenn 7: Carson Miller had 39 rushes for 178 yards and three touchdowns and Mike Mathias had four rushes for 101 yards for Plymouth (3-5, 3-3 KLAA Gold). Chad Stevens was 10-for-24 passing for 124 yards and one touchdown for John Glenn (1-7,1-5 KLAA Gold)
Riverview 35, Grosse Ile 14: Cameron Rogers had 26 rushes for 135 yards and four touchdowns, Hunter Walker had an interception and Riverview’s defense held Grosse Ile to minus nine yards in the second half (7-1, 6-1 Huron). Grosse Ile 2-6, 2-5.
Romulus 29, Dearborn 22: Terrell Hughley gained 152 all-purpose yards, including 102 with one touchdown rushing, Andre Grace caught five passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns, and Kazmere Bell completed 17 of 19 passes for 269 yards and two TDs and rushed for another score. Romulus is 6-2, Dearborn 2-6.
Southfield Bradford 20, Old Redford 0: DeJon Wofford returned two interceptions for TDs and Percy Redd ran back a punt 80 yards for a score for Southfield Bradford.
Sterling Heights Parkway Christian 53, Southfield Christian 7: Julian Davis had seven carries for 173 yards and two touchdowns plus an 87-yard kickoff returned for a score, Maurice Hutchinson recorded 12 rushes for 67 yards and three touchdowns, Caleb Joye had seven tackles, four pass break-ups and a blocked punt, and Kyle Hensley recorded nine tackles and two sacks for Parkway (5-3, 5-1 MIAC). Southfield Christian is 2-6, 2-4.
Walled Lake Western 49, South Lyon 28: Sam Johnson was 7-for-9 passing for 127 yards and two TDs, Justin Thomas had five receptions for 110 yards and two TDs, Kevin Jackson nine receptions for 106 yards two touchdowns, and Malcom Baker rushed for a TD. Randall Harris and CJ Brown both had an interception return for a touchdown for Western (7-1, 6-1 Lakes Valley). South Lyon is 1-7, 1-6.
Warren Michigan Collegiate 46, Harper Woods Chandler Park 20: Quarterback Tracy Hubbard had four rushing touchdowns, Jamar Green had a rushing touchdown, and Jaquez Hall had two interceptions for Collegiate (9-0, 4-0 Charter). Chandler Park is 5-3, 3-1.
Detroit News staff contributed;
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer