Warren De La Salle defeated Southfield, 31-7, in a Division 2 semifinal football game at Novi High School Saturday.
De La Salle's Joey Gabarino scored on runs of 1 and 10 yards and caught an 18-yard touchdown pass.
Allen Stritzinger had 19 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown for De La Salle (10-3), which advances to face Muskegon Mona Shores (12-1) 1 p.m. Friday at Ford Field .
De La Salle coach Paul Verska said his team did a good job quieting its naysayers with wins over Brother Rice last week and Southfield .
"We validated today," he said. "The rest is gravy."
Southfield's Adrian Carter rushed for 127 yards on 14 carries, including a 77-yard touchdown run with 3:34 left.
"I thought it was going to be a defensive struggle," said Southfield coach Tim Conley, whose team finished 9-4. "I didn't expect it to get away from us like it did."
De La Salle's Jake Townsley opened the scoring with a 34-yard field goal with 11:11 left in the first half, capping a six play, 18 yard drive in 2:53.
A blocked punt set up Stritzinger's 12-yard TD run with 7:28 left.
Gabarino scored on a 1-yard run with 13 seconds left in the half to put De La Salle ahead 17-0.
Gabarino caught a 20-yard pass from Darren Rydzewski — a wide receiver — with 9:30 left to put the game out of reach.
"We had that [play] since the very first week of school," Gabarino said. "We always wondered when we were going to run it. We finally ran it and [Rydzewski] saw I was open and tried to make the most of the mess."
Al Willman is a freelance writer