Prep football preview: Catholic League
Projected order of finish by consensus of coaches; 2018 records in parentheses.
1. WARREN DE LA SALLE (12-2, 2-1)
Mike Giannone begins his fourth season at De La Salle, guiding the team to consecutive Division 2 state titles the last two years. Anthony Stepnitz returns at QB, working behind OL in Grant Toutant (Ohio State), Adam Zepp and Michael Young. Brett Stanley is at RB.
2. DETROIT CATHOLIC CENTRAL (7-4, 2-1)
Catholic Central split with De La Salle last year, winning the regular-season game before losing in the league title game. Jack Beno will be at QB and work behind an experienced line consisting of Steve Kolcheff and Zach Carey. Cole Price and Jace Shular are RBs.
3. ORCHARD LAKE ST. MARY’S (3-6, 1-2)
St. Mary’s should climb back up the standings this season and earn a state playoff spot for the first time in three years after losing four games by four or fewer points. George Porritt begins his 30th year and has 29 seniors to work with, including QB Grant Henson and receiver Kameron Arnold.
4. BIRMINGHAM BROTHER RICE (7-4, 1-2)
Adam Korzeniewski starts his third year as head coach, going 7-4 in each of his first two years with a state playoff win. He has three-year starting QB Gregory Piscopink to run his offense, which includes RB Patrick O’Hara and T Luke Newman.
T1. DETROIT LOYOLA (7-4, 4-0)
John Callahan’s return as head coach was a good one, bringing Loyola back to the state playoffs last year. He returns 13 starters and has five former players now on his staff. The strength will be up front on both sides of the ball with Derrick Harmon, Hayden Caddell and Adarius Clack leading the way.
T1. U-D JESUIT (4-5, 2-2)
Matt Lewis feels right at home now in Year 2 at Jesuit after working as an assistant coach at De La Salle and Saline before taking over the head coaching job last year. He has an outstanding LB in Dorian Mausi and a talented WR in Carson Hinton. Walter Baughman anchors the line.
3. DEARBORN DIVINE CHILD (4-5, 2-2)
Divine Child suffered a 1-5 start and missed the playoffs after having to replace QB Theo Day and DL Aidan Hutchinson. The Falcons now have 20 seniors and will be looking for big years from WR Colin Kelley, LB/TE Dawson Stec and OL/LB Brodie Riopelle.
4. BLOOMFIELD HILLS CRANBROOK-KINGSWOOD (6-4, 2-2)
Ben Jones takes over as head coach. He inherits a program that has made five straight state playoff appearances, advancing to the Division 4 regional final in 2017 and losing to Farmington Hills Harrison in a pre-district game last year, 24-10. Jones expects OL/DL Will Kerr to be a key contributor, along with RB/LBs Jack Fairman and Tariq Muhammad.
5. ANN ARBOR GABRIEL RICHARD (2-7, 0-4)
Matt Giarmo is Gabriel Richard’s new head coach after the team suffered through an 0-4 AA season and missed the state playoffs for just the second time in 11 years. T/LB Andrew Covert, TE/LB Brandon Victor and HB/CB Matt Montgomery are key players.
Intersectional 1 Division
1. RIVERVIEW GABRIEL RICHARD (7-5, 3-0)
Gabriel Richard won its first division title in 20 years, defeating Lutheran North 57-54 in a 4OT game, then advanced to the Division 7 regional finals, but lost 20 seniors from that team. Coach Thomas Michalsen will be looking for big production from RB/DL Nathan Palumbo, and two-way linemen Kenneth Esquible and Alex Mastrogiacomo.
2. MACOMB LUTHERAN NORTH (7-3, 2-1)
Second-year coach Garrett Wenzelburger has an outstanding QB in Angelo Basilisco, who transferred in from Macomb Dakota last year, then led Lutheran North to its first state playoff appearance since 2010. He has a weapon in WR/LB Matthew Drdul and will operate behind a line anchored by Jacob Kukuk.
3. GROSSE POINTE LIGGETT (4-5, 1-2)
Liggett showed improvement last year, going from 1-8 in 2017 to 4-5, but now will try to have a winning season, something it did seven straight years (2010-16). QB/LB Ian Narva, WR/LB Drew Zelenak and two-way linemen Giorgio Malkoun are key players.
4. ALLEN PARK CABRINI (6-5, 0-3)
Brian Obrycki takes over … again as head coach at Cabrini, replacing Ken Briere. Obrycki was head man at Cabrini from 1996-2009, guiding Cabrini to five straight state playoff appearances (2004-08). TE/LB Jackson Stanley, TB/LB Logan Heath and T/LB Jonas Raiha are among the senior leaders.
Intersectional 2 Division
1. CLARKSTON EVEREST COLLEGIATE (9-2, 3-1)
Coach Michael Pruchnicki will be looking for QB/LB Giovanni Mastromatteo, C/LB John Surran and WR/CB Jimmy Neme to lead Everest Collegiate to another Catholic League title after a thrilling 36-35 win over Riverview Gabriel Richard last year.
2. MADISON HEIGHTS BISHOP FOLEY (8-2, 3-1)
Brian Barnes is pleased with his numbers – 51 players in program – after ending a streak of four straight losing seasons with an 8-2 record last season. WR/S Klayton Cornell, QB/S Braden Mussat and two-way linemen Zach Proctor are among his top players.
3. ROYAL OAK SHRINE (5-5, 2-2)
Oscar Olejniczak begins Year No. 2 at Shrine after leading U-D Jesuit’s program for several years. Shrine earned a state playoff appearance last year after going 3-6 in 2017. WR/LB Anthony Massucci, RB/LB Jacob Piekutowski and two-way linemen Matt Massucci are key players.
4. WATERFORD LAKES (5-5, 2-2)
Jason Albrecht will be looking at several freshmen to come in and help contribute, joining key players in seniors Kyle Cartier (RB/S), QB/S Grant Ross and WR/S Anthony Mersino.
5. MARINE CITY CARDINAL MOONEY (1-8, 0-4)
Veteran coach Joseph Quesnelle is hoping Cardinal Mooney can end its run of six straight losing seasons with strong showings from junior WR/CB Larry DeDalis, QB/CB Blake Brown and two-way lineman Paul Nasr.