Thursday's football: Brighton beats East English at the Big House
Ann Arbor — Brighton was two minutes from opening its season with a shutout win over Detroit East English at Michigan Stadium.
Instead, East English scored with two minutes left, and converted the two-point conversion. A frantic final drive was too little, too late for East English, as Brighton won, 14-8, Thursday.
“I’m super proud of our kids,” Brighton coach Brian Lemons said. “Being as young and inexperienced as they were coming into this, they were able to achieve something great today. I know it’s just week one, but this really meant a lot to our kids and what confidence they’re going to have.”
Many of the players on both teams grew up watching games played at the Big House, and with that came the unavoidable nerves from playing in Ann Arbor.
“We didn’t measure the field or anything like that,” Lemons joked. “What we really did is we came in, we got here early and the kids got a chance to play catch. Really, we kept it as loose as possible.”
Cam Tullar was 7-of-13 for 80 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Brighton. He also rushed three times for minus-7 yards.
Luke Helwing had 10 carries for 77 yards.
East English quarterback Delvin Washington was 17-of-39 for 143 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Zahmaine March had 18 carries for 57 yards.
Brighton marched on its first drive — aided by a generous call on a fumble by Drew Billig. It appeared as though East English had recovered, but the officials determined that a Brighton player picked up the fumble.
Four plays later, Tullar found Rudy Ramirez for a 21-yard touchdown. With 6:04 left in the first, Brighton was up 7-0.
After picking up a first down, East English stalled at midfield, and was forced to punt.
On the next drive, after Tullar found Braydon Ebbeskotte for a gain of 11, and after a pair of 5-yard penalties gave Brighton first-and-20, Tullar was picked off by East English defensive lineman Darryl Wilcox. On the ensuing drive, East English went three-and-out.
With 11 seconds left in the half, Tullar connected with a wide-open Ebbeskotte for a 30-yard score.
At halftime, Brighton led 14-0.
“He told us to keep pushing down on the gas,” Helwing said of his coach’s message in the locker room.
On East English’s first drive of the third quarter, Washington was picked off by Brighton linebacker Sam Williamson, who returned the interception to the East English 29. Brighton went three-and-out before Ramirez missed a 45-yard field-goal attempt wide right and about 6 yards short.
On the ensuing drive for East English, March picked up a first down — on a 10-yard run — before the drive stalled at the East English 31.
“We had some missed opportunities,” East English coach Rod Oden said. “It’s week one. Those things can be expected. We let one get away today.”
East English had a first-and-goal — the first for either team — after marching 64 yards in eight plays. The drive ended abruptly when Washington — on second-and-goal — was intercepted by Williamson.
On his 34th pass of the game, Washington found Lemuel Watley for an 11-yard touchdown. He connected with Samuel Womack for the two-point conversion, cutting Brighton’s lead to 14-8 with two minutes left.
East English defensive lineman Bryant Brewer (left leg) left with 8:25 remaining in the first quarter. He did not return.
East English hosts Detroit Pershing on Friday, Sept. 2, while Brighton heads to Northville on Thursday.
Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood 23, Hamtramck 19: Aaron Wiggins rushed for 88 yards and two TDs and Pat Foley led the team with eight tackles for Cranbrook.
Brownstown Woodhaven 52, Lincoln Park 49: Alex Theisen went 12-for-16 passing and threw for 155 yards and four touchdowns, Theisen also ran for 162 yards with one touchdown and Jalen Wellens had 18 tackles and three sacks for Woodhaven.
Dearborn Edsel Ford 61, Sterling Heights 28: Michael Bates had 12 carries for 217 yards and three TDs, Will Morano carries the ball nine times for 85 yards and two scores, Carl Taylor had 96 yards on 11 carries and a TDs and Jonte Dorsey added 85 yards and two TDs on five rushes for Edsel Ford.
Detroit Cesar Chavez Academy 38, Genesee 18: Nathan Muscat passed for 375 yards and four TDs while rushing for another and Anthony Turner had 15 catches for 175 yards and two scores for Cesar Chavez.
Detroit Denby 42, Detroit Douglass 0: Adonte Calhoun rushed for 205 yards and three TDs and Romel Taylor passed for 110 yards with two scores and ran in one more for Denby. The Denby defense had three interceptions and allowed just two first downs to Douglass.
Fraser 43, Port Huron Northern 21: Dom Mielke rushed for 137 yards with four TDs and Juan Simmons had a 103-yard interception return for a TD for Fraser.
Grosse Pointe North 24, Detroit Collegiate Prep 7: Jared Jordan rushed for 241 yards with two TDs, Caleb Powers returned an interception for a 32-yard TD and Kevin Topcui kicked a 28-yard field goal for North.
Livonia Stevenson 42, Livonia Franklin 29: Chris Tanderys was 12-of-20 for 254 yards and four TDs and rushed for 80 yards on nine carries, Parker Graham caught four passes for 122 yards and three scores, Ian Knoph also had four catches for 103 yards and Devin Dunn had six tackles for Stevenson. Jacob Clark had 12 carries for 189 yards and two TDs for Franklin.
New Baltimore Anchor Bay 41, Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse 8: Jordan Irwin was 6-for-11 with 129 yards and a TD and had 112 yards and two TDs rushing, Jacob Paul had 16 rushes for 112 yards and a TD and both Cole Anderson and Michael Harper had three tackles with an interception.
Northville 25, Dearborn 20: Hussien Hannawi had 134 yards and two touchdowns on 16 rushes and Mike Phillips was 13-for-23 with 170 yards and a touchdown, adding 50 yards rushing for Dearborn.
Novi 49, Hartland 28: Alec Bageris was 15-of-21 for 324 yards and six TDs, Anthony D’Annibale caught 12 passes for 223 yards and six scores and Nathan Hankerson had 21 carries for 161 yards and a TD for Novi. Jack Slavin had 12 carries for 61 yards for Hartland.
Redforn Union 36, Allen Park Cabrini 13: Isaac Grant had touchdown runs of 68, 30 and 20 yards for Redford Union.
Warren Cousino 49, Warren Woods Tower 14: Karry DeBose had 128 rushing yards and five touchdowns, Ben Maleszyk passed for 288 yards and a score, Carter O’Donnell had a touchdown catch as well as a rushing score and Daniel Carnighi finished with 12 tackles and two sacks for Cousino.
West Bloomfield 31, Birmingham Groves 28, OT: Nick O'Shea's 27-yard field goal won it. Bryce Veasley completed 20 of 34 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns for West Bloomfield. Collin Heard carried six times for 125 yards, caught two passes for 75 yards and scored three touchdowns for Groves.
Al Willman is a freelance writer