Romeo — Romeo took control early in a Macomb Area Conference crossover matchup, beating Utica Eisenhower, 24-8, on Friday night to clinch a state football playoff berth.
Quarterback Paul Hurley finished an impressive opening drive that went 76 yards on 16 plays and took 9 minutes 17 seconds by finding Mitch Heimbuch in the end zone from 5 yards out for Romeo.
"I had no idea it took that long until I got to the sideline," Hurley said. "It was awesome."
"I really couldn't have drawn it up any better than that," Romeo co-coach Curt Rienas said. "That's a way to start a ballgame, that's for sure."
Hurley was the star of the first half, racking up two touchdowns on the ground to go with his one through the air. He found his way to the end zone with runs of 3 and 19 yards.
"He's a phenomenal player," Rienas said. "When you've got a kid like that at quarterback, you've always got a chance."
Hurley was 14-for-21 for 105 yards passing and added 14 rushes for 79 yards.
Jake Bradsher hit Nick Ribbing with a 20-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter and finished 10-for-21 for 94 yards, but Eisenhower (5-4) had trouble getting into the game, turning the ball over on downs first, then fumbling it away.
Quarterback Jake Bradsher struggled to find open receivers downfield, settling for short passes most of the night. The Romeo defense swarmed to the ball on nearly every play, forcing another fumble to start the second half, and recording two interceptions.
"I didn't have the team prepared to play," Eisenhower coach Chris Smith said. "I take complete blame for it."
With 1:21 left, Eisenhower had the ball at the Romeo 17-yard line, but Bradley Tanner picked off Bradsher in the end zone to seal the victory.
Bradsher hit Nick Ribbing with a 20-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter and finished 10-for-21 for 94 yards.
"I thought our kids fought hard in the second half to get back into the game," Smith said. "But they just put too much on us in the first half."
After failing to clinch a playoff berth, Eisenhower will have to sweat out the playoff selections that will be made on Sunday afternoon.
Allen Park 40, Southgate Anderson 19: Antonio Mangiapane was 7-for-14 with 139 yards and two touchdowns, and had 54 yards rushing and another touchdown for Allen Park (8-1 Downriver). Antonio Reviere added three receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns, Thomas Firhan had six tackles, and Dylan Romo had nine tackles. Southgate is 5-4.
Clarkston 31, Farmington Hills Harrison 24: Noah Erickson had 16 carries for 216 yards and three touchdowns for Clarkson (9-0). Jevon Shaw had 16 carries for 125 yards and two touchdowns for Harrison (7-2).
Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 42, New Baltimore Anchor Bay 6: Patrick Bringingstool was 10-of-10 for 284 yards and six touchdowns, Stefan Claiborne had 158 yards receiving and three touchdowns, Sean Bunting had two touchdown receptions, and Tyler Kulka and Austin Moussa each had an interception for Chippewa Valley (6-3). Anchor Bay is 2-7.
Dearborn Heights Robichaud 51, Berkley 27: Traivon Clayton had six catches for 178 yards and one touchdown, and Jairus Grissom was 10-for-21 for 181 yards and two touchdowns and had 12 carries for 107 yards for Robichaud (8-1).
Detroit Catholic Central 49, Detroit Osborn 6: Nickolas Giese had three rushing touchdowns (1, 4 and 1 yards), Philip Schmitz had an interception and scored on runs of 2 and 79 yards, and Daniel Wick had an 8-yard fumble return for a score for Catholic Central (4-5). Shayshone Bonner scored on a 41-yard run off a fake punt for Osborn (3-6).
Fraser 42, Sterling Heights 21: Dylan Walker threw for 86 yards, ran for 47 and had two touchdowns for Fraser (6-3), while Dominic Mielke ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries and Jeff Mainhardt had three catches for 86 yards and a score. Sterling Heights is 1-8.
Grosse Pointe North 42, St. Clair 8: O'Dell Snyder had seven carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns, Dan Robinson and 56 rushing yards and was 4-for-5 for 114 yards and one touchdown and LaTorris Greer had an 85-yard touchdown run for North (6-3). St. Clair is 6-3.
Madison Heights Lamphere 32, St. Clair Shores Lake Shore 21: Trevor Guilmette had 25 carries for 247 yards and three touchdowns, Adonis Gregory had a 55-yard touchdown reception, and Nick Marsh had three catches for 75 yards and a touchdown for Lamphere (3-6). Lake Shore is 4-5.
Novi 21, Howell 19: Emmanuel Jackson had 20 carries for 136 yards and two touchdowns and Matt Sabo had 16 carries for 75 yards and one touchdown for Novi (4-5). Brett Chapperone had 17 carries for 105 yards for Howell (4-5).
Plymouth 41, Belleville 14: Deji Adebiyi was 12-for-17 for 206 yards and three touchdowns and Connor Pheodorokos had two touchdown catches for Plymouth (7-2). Askaree Crawford had 10 carries for 138 yards and one touchdown for Belleville (3-6).
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 38, Livonia Clarenceville 20: Luke Adams had 18 carries for 200 yards and two touchdowns, Matt Durkin had 14 carries for 134 yards and two touchdowns, and Pat Anger had 25 carries for 152 yards and a touchdown for Notre Dame (3-5). Clarenceville is 2-7.
Riverview 41, Romulus Summit Academy 0: Eric Gant had nine carries for 107 yards and three touchdowns, and Nick Walsh had a 56-yard touchdown reception and 13 tackles for Riverview (6-3, 4-3 Huron). Summit Academy is 1-8.
Rochester Adams 30, Lake Orion 26: Kyle Wood had 29 carries for 166 yards and a touchdown, and Clarence Broadnax had 30 carries for 165 yards and three touchdowns for Adams (5-4). Lake Orion is 4-5.
Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 42, Rochester 10: Scott Reader had four carries for 94 yards and a touchdown, Joe Platz had a 4-yard rushing touchdown, Paul Pollack had two interceptions and returned one 46 yards for a touchdown, and Cole Nelsen scored on a 70-yard fumble recovery for Stoney Creek (5-4). Rochester is 1-8.
Sterling Heights Stevenson 21, Utica 14: Kumehnnu Gwilly had 38 carries for 236 yards and two touchdowns, and Austin Kowalczyk had 10 tackles for Utica (2-7). Stevenson is 7-2.
Walled Lake Western 50, Madison Heights Madison 6: Kyle Thomas was 9-for-16 with 190 yards and three touchdowns, and had 11 carries for 93 yards and two touchdowns for Western (8-1). Marcus Bailey added four catches for 66 yards and a touchdown, and John Witkowski had two catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. Madison is 7-2.
Warren De La Salle 37, Detroit Pershing 0: Tru Wilson had two rushing touchdowns and Cole Paczas one rushing and receiving touchdown for De La Salle (6-3). Pershing is 4-5.
Warren Fitzgerald 50, Warren Lincoln 14: Stephen Gregerson was 15-for-23 with 266 yards and three touchdowns, and Trimone Lippett had five catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns for Fitzgerald (6-3). Lincoln is 1-8.
Warren Michigan Collegiate 52, Clarkston Everest Collegiate 0: Alden Roberson had two receiving touchdowns and a 35-yard touchdown run, and Brendan Roberts was 6-for-7 for 138 yards and three touchdowns for Michigan Collegiate (8-1).
Westland John Glenn 48, Southfield-Lathrup 13: Jamie Melchor had 12 carries for 192 yards and two touchdowns and had 43-yard punt return for a score, and Leon Crawford rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries for Glenn (6-3). Lathrup is 4-5.
White Lake Lakeland 48, Milford 26: Michael Kutzleb had 16 carries for 142 yards and two touchdowns, and Ryan Wonders had 15 carries for 75 yards and two touchdowns for Lakeland (3-6). Milford is 1-8.
Detroit Cass Tech d. Detroit Renaissance, 25-27, 25-16, 17-25, 25-21, 15-11, to win the PSL championship. Senior captain Monette Daniels had 12 kills and four blocks, Richelle Hawkins had eight kills and Nicole White had 22 assists for Cass Tech.
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer; News staff contributed