Utica Eisenhower routs Macomb Dakota, 42-7
Utica — After back-to-back years losing in the Division 1 district finals to Macomb Dakota, Utica Eisenhower scored 42 unanswered points on the way to a 42-7 win over Dakota in Friday’s district final game at Swineheart Field.
Dakota took an early 7-0 lead on Brett Droski’s 1-yard touchdown run, but then it was all Eisenhower, which scored five touchdowns in the first half for a 35-7 lead.
Eisenhower (11-0) will play Southfield A&T (8-3), which knocked off West Bloomfield, 41-6.
“It’s always a great win when you can beat a great program like Dakota,” Eisenhower coach Chris Smith said. “We’re district champions now. I’m just excited for the kids.”
Max Wittwer was 3-of-6 for 143 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 104 yards and two more scores.
Eisenhower beat Dakota, 26-13, in Week 2. Wittwer said Friday’s win, given the playoff history between both teams, is more special.
“The Week 2 win was big enough,” he said. “But this one is just so much more.”
Two drives after Droski’s touchdown run, Eisenhower tied the game on Provencher’s 3-yard scamper, which was preceded by his 58-yard run.
After a Dakota fumble to start the second quarter, Eisenhower needed only two plays to take the lead. Wittwer’s 14-yard run put Eisenhower ahead, and with 10:33 left in the half, it had a 14-7 lead.
Dakota went three-and-out on its next drive, and Eisenhower struck quickly. Wittwer found Jack Provencher on a 65-yard pass-and-catch. With 9:13 to go in the half, it was 21-7 Eisenhower.
“Coach (offensive coordinator John) DiGorgio did a good job setting that up,” Smith said.
Wittwer’s second rushing touchdown, a 13-yard run, capped a drive in which he ran 71 yards in three carries. With 4:02 left until halftime, Eisenhower was ahead 28-7.
Eisenhower padded its lead on a 13-yard pass from Wittwer to Provencher, making it 35-7 with 2:33 left in the second quarter.
Eisenhower carried its four-touchdown lead into the half.
Provencher’s fourth touchdown, a 36-yard run on fourth-and-4, put the game further out of reach.
Dakota (7-4) is graduating 31 seniors. First-year coach Greg Baur, who took over for Mike Gianonne — now at Warren De La Salle — said he’s extremely proud of the effort of his seniors.
“I’m really proud of our seniors,” Baur said. “There was a point in the season where we could have gone in a completely different direction,” B“aur said. "We were 4-3, we had just lost to our rivals (40-38 to Clinton Township Chippewa Valley on Oct. 7). We came back, we were prideful and we won the last two games to get in (to the playoffs).”
As far as players to watch from Dakota’s junior varsity – a team that went undefeated this season – Baur said he’s not particularly concerned with one or two so-called stars.
A moment of silence was held before the game for 14-year-old Dakota student Victoria Cartwright, who was stuck and killed by a Jeep driven by a 16-year-old Macomb Township girl driving to Dakota as Cartwright was walking to school Friday morning.
Al Willman is a freelance writer