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DAVE GORICKI

Goricki’s prep picks: Freshman QB leads Brother Rice

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Birmingham Brother Rice head coach Dave Sofran

Birmingham Brother Rice saw its 16-year postseason run end last season.

But in a quest not to see one year turn into two, third-year coach Dave Sofran had to commit to something a bit unconventional: hand his offense to a freshman.

It’s paid off as quarterback Greg Piskopink replaced starter Mariano Velenti (shoulder) and led Brother Rice (6-3) to three straight victories to clinch a postseason spot.

“He’s done a good job of managing the offense, definitely playing well for us,” said Sofran, whose team heads for Warren Cousino (8-1) on Friday for a Division 2 pre-district matchup. “I can’t remember a freshman quarterback ever winning three games at Rice before.

“We hope to have Mariano back. It will be a game-time decision.”

Detroit News prep picks: Week 1 playoffs

The Brother Rice defense will get tested by a strong Cousino offense, which averages 40 points and is led by quarterback Ben Maleszyk (2,062 yards, 17 touchdowns).

Maleszyk has multiple weapons to work with in the spread offense, including Carter O’Donnell (25 receptions, 458 yards, nine touchdowns), Dan Carnaghi (39 receptions, 605 yards, two touchdowns), Max Schulte (23 receptions, 456 yards, eight touchdowns) and Karry DeBose Jr. (23 receptions, 283 yards, two touchdowns). DeBose also has rushed for 1,029 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Pick: Brother Rice by 2

Other top games

Canton (7-2) at Northville (7-2), 7 p.m. Friday: A rematch of last week’s Kensington Conference title game, a 42-27 Canton victory. Canton had 448 yards rushing behind Markus Sanders (217). Northville has a great passing attack led by QB Jack Burke and WR A.J. Abbott. Canton by 4

Macomb Dakota (6-3) at Chippewa Valley (6-3), 7 p.m. Friday: Chippewa Valley won its last four, including a 40-38 victory over Dakota. Dakota has averaged 47 points the last five games behind healthy RB Kaiser Carleton (knee). Dakota by 6

Southfield A&T (6-3) vs. Warren Mott (7-2) at Sterling Heights, 7 p.m. Friday: John Darby has been solid filling in for QB Sam Johnson the last two weeks. Mott’s defense will be tested by sophomore RB Lew Nichols (nearly 600 yards the last three weeks). Southfield A&T by 6

Dearborn Fordson (8-1) at Detroit Cass Tech (9-0), 1 p.m. Saturday: Expect No. 1 Cass Tech to get tested by Fordson, which has averaged 42 points behind senior QB Hamze Elzayat. Cass Tech by 8