Howell — On Friday, it was 70 degrees. On Saturday, the thermometer rarely crept beyond 32 degrees, with snow falling for much of the second half of Detroit Catholic Central’s 17-0 win over Romeo in a Division 1 semifinal at Parker Middle School.
A power outage at Howell High School forced the game to be relocated and pushed back an hour from its original start time of 1 p.m.
But the changes, as well as the loss of sophomore quarterback Austin Brown, who hurt his left ankle late in the first half, did not deter Catholic Central (13-0). It will play for the championship at 1 p.m. next Saturday afternoon against Detroit Cass Tech (13-0), which beat Utica Eisenhower, 32-28, at Troy Athens.
“I think we did a great job overall,” Catholic Central coach Tom Mach said. “We’ve overcome a lot of different things today (and) made a lot of mistakes today than in any game we’ve played this year.”
Catholic Central, even before Brown’s injury, relied on its run game.
Isaac Darkangelo led the way with 13 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown. Cameron Ryan added 69 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.
As for its passing game, Catholic Central threw only three times. Brown was 2-of-2 for 46 yards, while backup Marco Genrich threw an incomplete pass on the first drive of the third quarter.
For Romeo (9-4), which also was forced to heavily utilize its running game, Ryan Medley had 11 carries for 39 yards. Cade Messner had six carries for 27 yards, while Nathan Goralski (26 yards) and Malik Jones (16 yards) each ran five times.
Austen Malczewski was 3-of-8 for 15 yards.
One play after connecting with Jack Morris for 38 yards, Brown broke free for a 30-yard run up the left sideline, then left the game with the injury.
C.C. settled for a 31-yard field goal from Jacob Nichols, putting it up 3-0 — a lead it took into the half.
C.C. held Romeo to 41 total yards in the first half, while gaining 144.
After a scoreless third quarter, Ryan’s 9-yard run with 4:24 left essentially put the game away. Darkangelo added a 3-yard score with 25 seconds remaining to seal it.
Mach turned his attention to next Saturday’s final at Ford Field against Cass Tech.
“They have a lot of great athletes,” he said. “(They have) speed, and have come through a long season just like we have. We’re just looking forward to playing in the final game.”
One player who stands out for Cass Tech is receiver/defensive back Donovan Peoples-Jones.
“He’s a great athlete,” said Ryan, who is also a linebacker for C.C. “But we’re going to get the job done.”
Ford Field, for all intents and purposes, could act as a home game for Cass Tech — which is only 1.1 miles away. You can see each location from the other.
But that isn’t fazing Mach.
“We’re not worried about that,” he said. “We’ll play them anywhere. It happens to be at Ford Field and that’s a great thing for the kids, being able to go down there and play at Ford Field. We don’t look at it as a disadvantage or an advantage. It’s just a fun thing to do.”
Al Willman is a freelance writer.