Brown makes big impact in return to F.H. Harrison

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Brendann Brown feels back at home again at Farmington Hills Harrison.

And, Harrison’s legendary head coach John Herrington is happy to have him play on both sides of the ball again, just like he did his sophomore season two years ago.

Brown, a 6-foot, 210-pound senior running back/linebacker, made a big impact in Harrison’s 28-0 upset win over West Bloomfield Friday night.

Brown rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown, also making 11 tackles against a high-powered offense which came into the game averaging 30 points.

“Brendann and Guam Lee, the two linebackers, are the strength of our defense,” Herrington said. “Brendann went to Southfield last year and transferred back this year. He’s been outstanding and I think he can play college football somewhere next year.

“Really, all the kids played great (against West Bloomfield). The secondary was outstanding, all the guys back there played well, Cam Cooley, Kordell Agee, Rod Heard and Ron Pressley. And, we held them to minus yardage rushing.”

Brown transferred to Southfield last year believing Harrison’s doors would be closed for good following the 2015-16 school year as rumored. However, the closure never materialized and Herrington says the school will be in operation for years to come.

“I felt back home my first day back at school, just felt this is the place I needed to be,” Brown said. “It’s like a family, being back with Coach Herrington, my teammates and the rest of the coaches. It was very, very tough to leave, took a while to make my final decision. I never wanted to leave Harrison, but felt it was going to close and I had to do what I had to do. I’m so glad that it stayed open so I could come back home.”

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Brown became a two-way starter midway through his sophomore year. Hethinks Harrison is playing well, especially after the season-opening loss to East Kentwood.

“I felt even if we would win or lose, it would prepare us for the season and we took it as a learning experience and came back the next week and kept improving,” said Brown, talking of the 31-24 loss to East Kentwood at the Big House before rebounding for dominating wins over Farmington (49-14), Birmingham Seaholm (45-7) and West Bloomfield.

“The D line’s been getting a great push off the ball with speed and technique,” said Brown. “We run a 5-2 base defense. We have great chemistry on our defense and really come together. We go sideline to sideline, us linebackers and just love it.”

And, while Brown’s normal position is linebacker, he enjoys running the ball, as well.

“Playing both sides of the ball is not that bad,” he said. “Sure, it’s exhausting sometimes, but I love playing offense at Harrison because we’re a power team, run the majority of the time and it’s fun running the ball for Coach Herrington.”

Harrison also has Notre Dame commit Ovie Oghoufo, a 6-3, 210-pound junior defensive end. Oghoufo and Brown attended the Michigan State-Notre Dame game Saturday night in South Bend. Brown, who has a 3.0 grade-point average and scored a 21 on his ACT, has received Division II offers and has interest from multiple Mid-American Conference teams.

“His football IQ is very high and he’s in on a lot of tackles that I’m in on,” Brown said of Oghoufo. “We go sideline to sideline with each other, always going at a high pace.”

Herrington was impressed with Oghoufo’s play against West Bloomfield.

“Ovie plays defensive end, puts pressure on their outstanding quarterback Bryce Veasley and we had him cover some of the receivers, he’s that good of an athlete,” Herrington said.

Harrison will host another high-scoring team in Rochester Adams (3-1) Friday.

Brother Rice on the rise

Birmingham Brother Rice is back in familiar territory again, near the top of the Catholic League, despite playing four straight road games. It finishes the season with five straight at home.

Brother Rice is getting things done defensively, something that didn’t happen a year ago when it struggled to a 2-7 record, losing all four Catholic League Central Division games and allowing nearly 30 points a game for the season.

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Brother Rice is 3-1, including a 13-3 victory over Warren De La Salle in the Catholic League opener for the teams Friday at Wayne State.

Brother Rice opened the season with a 27-3 win over Birmingham Seaholm, followed by its lone loss, 14-7 to Mishawaka (Ind.) Penn, before a 41-17 win over Elkhart (Ind.) Central.

Third-year coach Dave Sofran credits first-year defensive coordinator Rocco Foggio for the win over De La Salle.

“Our defensive coordinator Rocco Foggio and the coaching staff have put the kids in good position and they seem to be playing at a high level,” said Sofran, who was teammates with Foggio at Brother Rice. “Our defensive linemen Michael Laurencelle and Jack Saylor have played well.”

Saylor, a defensive end, had three sacks against De La Salle.

Sofran, who guided Brother Rice to a Division 2 regional final appearance in 2014, his first year after the team had won three straight state championships (2011-13), believes they could be 4-0.

“It was 7-to-7 at the end of the third against Penn and they scored on a 71-yard punt return that was a fluky play, where it looked like the ball carrier was down on his elbow, then popped up and the refs didn’t blow the whistle and 71 yards later he found the end zone,” Sofran said. “That was a game that could have been won, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

Now, Brother Rice finally has a home game, Saturday night against No. 3 Detroit Catholic Central, which is coming off a 28-21 overtime win against Ohio power Cleveland St. Ignatius.

Sofran could get three-star senior tight end/defensive end Carter Dunaway back as early as Saturday or the following week against No. 15 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. He is also pleased to have running back Jack Moran back. Moran has rushed for 90 or more yards the last two weeks after missing the first two games with a back injury.

G.P. South is 4-0

Grosse Pointe South is off to a great start, its first 4-0 start since 1984, following a 48-14 win over Utica Ford Friday.

Tenth-year coach Tim Brandon believed South could be a strong team this season with a pair of Division 1 players on the line in tight end/defensive end Andrew Sharp (Miami University) and tackle/defensive tackle Patrick Nauert (Air Force), along with a veteran quarterback Logan Mico.

And, Mico has multiple weapons to work with, including senior receivers Michael Braker, a transfer from De La Salle, and Hank Wilson.

“Logan’s a big, strong kid with a heck of an arm,” Brandon said. “He’s got really good receivers. Michael Braker has caught a TD in every game, including the winning touchdown against Utica.”

Braker is the younger brother of former Grosse Pointe North all-state basketball player Aerial Braker, who went on to play for Notre Dame.

Brandon has another weapon in junior kicker Cam Shook, who kicked five field goals in a 29-7 win over Fraser in Week 3. Shook has connected on 8 of 9 field goals this season.

Novi set to make run

It wouldn’t be surprising if Novi makes a run at the Kensington Lakes Activities Association Central Division title with a showdown with defending champ Northville down the road in Week 8.

Novi is 2-2, but it now has a balanced offense which should cause problems for opponents the rest of the way.

It has an elite passing attack in senior quarterback Alec Bageris and receiver Anthony D’Annibale, who has 36 receptions for 535 yards and 10 TDs.

Now, Novi’s running game is also hitting its stride with 5-11, 190-pound senior Nathan Hankerson running for a school-record 276 yards (20 carries), scoring on second-half runs of 62, 47 and 39 yards in a 42-14 win over South Lyon East Friday.

“It’s just my second year of playing football so it’s nice to get a school record so I’m extremely proud of myself and my team,” Hankerson said.

Novi coach Jeff Burnside watched Hankerson play basketball and talked him into coming out for the team last year.

“We recruited him out of basketball and said you could be a really good tailback and luckily he listened to us and we got it taken care of,” Burnside said. “His progression from last year to this year was outstanding. He worked his tail off in the weight room, really dedicated himself to it and that’s why he’s running the way he is right now. He has track speed, but now he’s strong enough to break the arm tackles.”