Friday's prep football: Livonia Franklin takes down Dearborn in KLAA East showdown

Eric Coughlin
Special to The Detroit News

Dearborn — Livonia Franklin showed it still has one of the elite football teams in the KLAA East on Friday night, downing Dearborn, 42-20.

Dearborn (1-1, 0-1 KLAA East) had trouble handling senior quarterback Jake Kelbert, who smoothly controlled Franklin’s offense to the tune of 11-of-18 passing for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Kelbert, a three-year starter, even showed impressive scrambling ability with 12 carries for 34 yards and one score.

Jake Kelbert of Livonia Franklin

“From watching film, I knew we had height leverage on the outside. I knew that if I used my IQ. I could mess with the corner(back) and get the ball over,” Jake Kelbert said.

“The experience helps us as coaches because he’s (Kelbert) seeing things that we sometimes don’t see,” Franklin coach Chris Kelbert said. “When we call a play he knows exactly where we want the ball to go, so he’s pretty special.”

Senior Franklin running back James Carpenter frequently gashed the Dearborn defense, racking up 113 yards on 11 carries., a 10.3-yard average.

“Our offensive scheme is based on letting the linemen do the work, and I’ve got great offensive linemen,” Carpenter said. “They open up big holes for me. I’m patient and hit them at full speed. That’s what I like to do.”

The loss is a disappointment for Dearborn. After going 5-5 in 2018 and beating Canton by 15 points in Week 1, Dearborn was expected to put up a better fight against coach Christopher Kelbert’s Franklin squad. Franklin (2-0, 1-0 KLAA East) even racked up 13 penalties. Dearborn didn't help its cause, giving up touchdowns on an interception and a blocked punt.

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Dearborn wide receiver Tommy Guajardo will be playing football at Michigan State next season, but Franklin bottled him up, only allowing Guajardo four catches for 34 yards.

Franklin struck first with an opening-drive touchdown. Kelbert had 49 yards throwing on the drive, including a 19-yard strike to sophomore wide receiver Brandon Reinten to make it 7-0.

The fast start was something the Franklin coaching staff had been emphasizing this week in practice.

“We wanted to start fast and put a little doubt in their minds,” Chris Kelbert said.

Dearborn answered with a lengthy drive, but Franklin linebacker Evan Pittenger intercepted a pass over the middle and took it back 92 yards, putting Franklin ahead 14-0.

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On the next drive, Pittenger outjumped his defender to reel in an 18-yard touchdown pass from Kelbert and Franklin had a 21-0 lead.

Dearborn started passing in an attempt to catch up quickly but it had little effect, and when Franklin senior Erik Reaves blocked a Dearborn punt, scooped it up and ran into the end zone, it put Franklin’s lead out of reach just before halftime, 28-0.

A bright moment for Dearborn occurred near the end of the third quarter when Dearborn senior Ryan Timani broke a couple tackles en route to a 90-yard kickoff return touchdown to cut Franklin’s lead to 28.

Backup Dearborn quarterback Ali Albdair hooked up with junior wide receiver Conor Whittaker for a 50-yard score in the fourth quarter to make it 35-20, but only four minutes remained and senior Franklin running back Grant Gibson punched in a four-yard touchdown run to definitively put it out of reach with 2:14 left.

More prep football

Allen Park 35, Taylor 0: Nico Tiberia intercepted a pass on defense and had 13 rushes for 64 yards and two touchdowns and Nick Patton caught two passes for 57 yards and scored on a 46-yard punt return for Allen Park (2-0). Taylor is 0-2.

Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 54, Roseville 6: Myren Harris had 12 carries for 175 yards and two touchdowns, Chippewa Valley (2-0) had 441 total offense and 318 total rushing helped by the offensive line of Alex Lanzon, David Warnoch, Pat Borys, Donovan McBride, Brendan Barbu. Roseville is 0-2.

Dearborn Heights Robichaud 44, Romulus 0: David Williams was 9-for-11 passing for 240 yards and three touchdowns, and had two interceptions with one returned for a 53-yard touchdown, Issac Thomas had five carries for 101 yards and two touchdowns, and Ky’Shaun Jackson had five tackles and one fumble recovery for a 30-yard touchdown for Dearborn Heights (2-0, 1-0 WWAC). Romulus is 0-2 and 0-1.

Denby's Marques Bridges and Javier Johnson celebrate Johnson's touchdown run in the third quarter. Detroit Denby defeated Ecorse 39-0 Friday.

Detroit Denby 39, Ecorse 0: Brandon Grimes was 8-for-12 passing for 178 yards and two passing touchdowns plus 101 rushing yards and one touchdown on seven carries, Keyon Hammond had four receptions for 87 yards and one touchdown, and Latrell Thompkins had nine tackles with four sacks and a 13-yard recieving touchdown for Denby (2-0). Ecorse (0-2).

Detroit Western 34, Detroit Edison 28: Donovan Cole passed for 168 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns, Aric Bell caught the two touchdowns for Western (2-0), Alonte Williams had an 82-yard kick return touchdown and Lamont Parks had a 62-yard punt return touchdown. Edison is 1-1.

Eastpointe 29, Clawson 12: Dazion Watkins had five receptions for 113 yards and two touchdowns, Maurice Davis had six carries for 63 yards and one touchdown, and Dazion Jones was 3-for-6 passing for 103 yards and two touchdowns for Eastpointe (1-1). Clawson is 0-2.

Livonia Stevenson 35, Westland John Glenn 0: Caden Woodall caught a touchdown pass and had 15 carries for 101 yards and one rushing touchdown, Ray Kastl was 5-for-8 passing for 176 yards and two touchdowns, and Nick Broome had three solo tackles, two assisted tackles, and two tackles for loss for Livonia Stevenson (2-0, 2-0 KLAA). Westland is 0-2, 0-1.

Macomb Dakota 49, Fraser 14: Zach Droski threw two touchdown passes to Trevor Duff and one to Darden Davis, Eric Reese scored on a 69-yard kickoff return, Caiden Sloan rushed for two touchdowns and B.J. Steppney ran in another for Dakota (1-1). Fraser is 0-2.

Mount Clemens 40, Melvindale ABT 0: Don Williams had 200 yards of total offense with three passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, and two 2-point conversions, Vermonte Cannon had 80-yards receiving and caught two touchdown passes, Armani Cannon caught a touchdown pass and Tayshaun Peterson had eight tackles for Mount Clemens (2-0). Melvindale ABT is 0-2.

North Farmington 42, Berkley 6: Jacob Bousamia was 10-for-12 passing for 238 yards and three touchdowns, and Myles Gresham had one rushing touchdown and an 85-yard kickoff return touchdown for North Farmington (2-0, 1-0 OAA). Berkley is 0-2 and 0-1 in the OAA.

Plymouth 38, Howell 7: Nick Downs went 8-for-13 passing for 181 yards and two touchdowns, Mike Mathias rushed for a 55-yard touchdown, caught a 53-yard touchdown and had a 70-yard interception, and Van Riley had a 40-yard rushing touchdown for Plymouth (2-0, 1-0 KLAA). Howell is 0-2, 0-1.

Redford Union 42, Melvindale 6: Andrew Draper went 3-for-3 passing with two touchdowns and a rushing touchdown, Dion Smith had two catches for 105 yards both for touchdowns, Andre Evans had seven tackles and Robert Boone had 12 tackles for Redford Union (1-1, 1-0 WWC). Melvindale is 0-2 and 0-1 in the WWC.

Riverview 28, New Boston Huron 0: Jimari Moultrie had 12 carries for 164 yards and two touchdowns and Ben Johnson had nine carries for 86 yards and a touchdown for Riverview (2-0, 1-0 Huron). Huron is 1-1, 0-1.

Warren Michigan Collegiate 30, Flint Beecher 6: Darrius Love rushed for 194 yards and two touchdowns, DeMarco Black rushed for 75 yards and a touchdown and Trey Redding had an interception for Collegiate (2-0). Beecher is 1-1.

Warren Mott 45, Macomb L'Anse Creuse North 6: Dylan Van Conant passed for 68-yards and one touchdown, Curtis Hamilton rushed 16 times for 149 yards and one touchdown, James Chaney had two rushing touchdowns, KJ Allen caught a 30-yard touchdown and Daiyon Anderson had an interception returned for a 40-yard touchdown for Warren Mott (2-0, 1-0 MAC). North is 1-1, 0-1.

Warren Woods Tower 58, New Haven 0: Henry Brown had 12 carries for 164 yards and two touchdowns, Deric Astracukaf was 6-for-8 passing with three touchdowns, Demetrius Card scored on an 89-yard interception return and Ryan Radgansky made eight tackles for Tower (2-0). New Haven is 0-2.

Eric Coughlin is a freelance writer; Detroit News staff contributed.