Orchard Lake St. Mary’s has a pair of big wins already this season and will be going for a third Friday night when the Eaglets play host to defending Division 2 state champion Warren De La Salle in a Catholic League Central Division showdown.
Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (4-0, 1-0), the defending Division 3 state champ, earned a win over Division 7 state champion Detroit Loyola in the season opener. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s came away with a 24-21 win over Mishawaka Penn — Indiana’s No. 2 ranked team — in Week No. 3.
Now, the Eaglets are going up against a strong defense in De La Salle, a team they defeated 14-10 win the last season.
“We’re looking for a very physical game,” Orchard Lake St. Mary’s coach George Porritt said. “Their defense is always great and we’ve had a tough time running the ball against them in the past. Our line is playing well and it will need to again since they (De La Salle) have good length up front. We can’t make mistakes against them.”
Senior quarterback Brendan Tabone has played well the last two weeks in wins over Penn and Detroit Jesuit (49-14), completing 21-of-27 passes. He has a big-play receiver in junior Kahlee Hamler (17 receptions, 244 yards) who has also returned a punt for a touchdown this season.
Porritt said senior running back Brandon Adams is cleared to play for Orchard Lake St. Mary’s after suffering a concussion against Penn.
The big question is how effective will De La Salle junior running back Allen Stritzinger be after suffering an ankle injury last week in a win over Birmingham Brother Rice. Tru Wilson replaced Stritzinger — who has an offer from Michigan — and ran for 155 yards on 22 carries, scoring two touchdowns. Wilson also scored on a interception return.
Pick: Orchard Lake St. Mary’s by 6.
Detroit Cass Tech (4-0) at Detroit King (4-0), Saturday, noon: This is a No. 1 (King) vs. No. 2 (Cass Tech) matchup with King trying to avenge an embarrassing 39-7 loss from last year’s PSL title game at Ford Field.
Both teams have been impressive with King getting the most out of several transfers, including running back Martell Pettaway, cornerback LaVert Hill, receiver/linebacker Armani Posey and linebacker Lawrence Bryant.
One matchup to watch will be between King’s four-star receiver Donnie Corley and Cass Tech’s shutdown cornerback Donovan Johnson.
Look for Cass Tech junior quarterback Rodney Hall to be the difference, showing he is an outstanding dual-threat quarterback with big-time running ability.
Pick: Cass Tech by 4.
Warren Mott (4-0) at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (3-1), Friday, 7: Mott (Tylen Redding) and Chippewa Valley (Stefan Claiborne) have outstanding defensive backs who will be tested in this Macomb Area Conference Red Division showdown.
Mott is averaging 40 points and defeated three-time defending MAC Red champion Macomb Dakota two weeks ago, 32-27.
Chippewa Valley quarterback Patrick Briningstool is having a strong senior season, throwing for more than 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Pick: Chippewa Valley by 2
Belleville (3-1) at Dearborn Heights Robichaud (4-0), Friday, 7: Belleville already has matched its win total of a year ago and now has a Western Wayne Blue Division showdown with Robichaud.
If Belleville is to continue its strong turnaround in Jermain Crowell’s first year as head coach, Belleville will have to slow down Robichaud’s passing attack of junior quarterback Jairus Grissom and Traivon Clayton.
Pick: Robichaud by 8.