Ankle injury to UM-bound Falcon puts Southfield in bind vs. Cass

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Matt Falcon

Big things were expected from Michigan-bound running back Matt Falcon at Southfield High School this season.

However, plans have changed after Falcon – the No. 6 player in the state in The Detroit News' preseason rankings – rolled his ankle during a scrimmage last Tuesday against Walled Lake Western. The four-star prospect will miss the season opener Saturday at 5 p.m. against No. 2 Detroit Cass Tech at Wayne State University and could be lost for the season.

“Matt got hurt in our scrimmage, his ankle rolled and his knee is uncomfortable – just didn’t feel right to him,” Southfield coach Tim Conley told The Detroit News on Monday. “It’s a waiting game right now. He has to go to the doctor, get an MRI, do physical therapy. We think he’s out for a while. He could be back. He’s the type of kid who would want to come back tomorrow, but we don’t want to rush him, put any pressure on him because he has a lot at stake next year (at Michigan).”

Southfield has a tall order against star-filled Cass Tech, which showcases a secondary of MSU-bound safety Demetric Vance, four-star junior cornerback Donovan Johnson and junior Jaylen Kelly-Powell, who has 18 offers, including one from Michigan and another from defending national champion Ohio State.

In addition, Southfield has a freshman at quarterback, Samuel Johnson III, going up against that veteran Cass Tech defense.

“We will have someone running the ball Saturday,” Conley said. “You can’t replace Matt because he’s such a great talent, great leader and great student-athlete. But he was out of the lineup after six games last year (knee injury) and we had other kids step up and do a good job for us.”

Despite Falcon being sidelined after six games – accounting for 1,100 all-purpose yards, including 843 yards rushing – Southfield advanced to the Division 2 state semifinals, losing to eventual champion Warren De La Salle.

Conley is looking forward to watching Johnson, who already has seven offers, including one from Cincinnati, perform Saturday.

“I’m really impressed with him,” said Conley of Johnson. “He’s showing leadership and he’s a real positive kid. He’s exceeding expectations, especially for a freshman.”

Southfield – ranked No. 7 in The Detroit News’ preseason rankings – had 20 of its players from its 9-4 team from a year ago move on to play in college.