Friday's prep football: Chippewa Valley pulls away to win MAC Red opener

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News
Clinton Township Chippewa Valley wide receiver Quillen Howze, left, stretches the ball out for extra yardage as he is knocked out of bounds by Utica Eisenhower's Nick Price in the first quarter on Friday.

Clinton Township — One year ago, Clinton Township Chippewa Valley defeated Utica Eisenhower on the road to snap a four-season losing streak against one of its toughest Macomb Area Conference Red Division foes. 

The win was met with much jubilation, a robust rendition of the school’s fight song, and an emphatic turning of the page. 

So how did the reigning Division 1 state champions celebrate Friday night’s 34-19 home win over Eisenhower on Friday night? With head shaking, heavy sighs, and a hearty helping of discontent.

“Very ugly. We didn’t play our best,” Chippewa Valley senior running back Myren Harris said. 

The standards at Chippewa Valley (3-0, 1-0) may have changed under head coach Scott Merchant, who has now led his program to 17 straight wins dating back to 2018, but the means of production — a vaunted rushing attack — have not. Harris led Chippewa Valley’s second-half charge, helping to turn a one-point halftime lead into a 15-point shellacking with 197 rushing yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.

“I gotta give it up to the line,” Harris said. “Before every game, I tell the locker room, 'You trust me, I’ll trust you.' If they open it up, I’ll run through it.”

Afterward, Harris was adamant that this was not, in fact, the best football his team can play.

“We’re trying to improve, we’re playing with a chip on our shoulder every game,” he said. “When we say, ‘Never satisfied,’ we actually mean it. That’s not just our motto.”

Myles Harris caught a 55-yard touchdown pass and Josh Kulka was 9-for-13 passing for 148 yards and two touchdowns for Chippewa Valley.

Blake Rastigue ran for 70 yards and was 15-for-22 passing for 265 yards and three touchdowns, Steven Nodalski caught four passes for 141 yards and Ethan Barker had four catches for 74 yards for Eisenhower (1-2, 0-1).

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Merchant said afterward that his team’s 27-point second half wasn’t the result of adjustments, just better execution.

“There was no like, ‘We’re going to change everything,'” Merchant said. “I think we blocked better and probably executed a little better.

Chippewa Valley took a 7-0 lead with 3:04 left in the first quarter. Kulka hit Corey Anderson II for a 55-yard completion down the right sideline on the drive’s second play. Carde Johnson ran it into the end zone on third-and-goal from the 4 complete the five-play, 80-yard touchdown drive.

Eisenhower responded just two plays into its next possession with a 77-yard touchdown pass from Rastigue to Nadolski. A botched snap on the extra-point attempt maintained the Chippewa Valley lead, 7-6.

Antwaine Gunter blocked a 43-yard Eisenhower field-goal attempt with 8:20 to go in the second quarter to preserve the slight edge. Eisenhower kicker Luke Drzewiecki also came up short on a 50-yard field goal in the first quarter.

While both teams traded critical stops in its own territory over the next handful of drives, it was Chippewa Valley coming up with the half’s biggest stand. Eisenhower marched down the field in three plays after receiving the ball at the 31 with 1:53 to go, and on the last play of the second quarter, Jay Lawson and Tyler Wells closed in on Rastigue to hand the senior quarterback his third sack of the night and head to the locker room with a one-point advantage.

Kulka connected with Quillen Howze for an 80-yard touchdown pass on a third-and-10, extending Chippewa Valley’s lead to 14-6 lead just 1:27 into the second half. Chippewa Valley got right back to it on its next drive, travelling 59 yards in eight plays capped by a 2-yard run from Ricky Odum to make it 20-6 after a missed extra-point attempt.

“We got the ball to start the second half, so it was big for us to go down and go up by eight points,” Merchant said. “Then our defense got a couple stops, and we were able to put a couple more in.”

Nadolski got Eisenhower back into the game with a 50-yard return on the ensuing kickoff. He also had a 31-yard punt return in the first quarter. Aiden Ives made a brilliant 40-yard catch down the left sideline to make it first-and-goal for Eisenhower, where Rastigue would finish the job with an 8-yard touchdown throw to Brandon Ames.

Merchant praised Rastigue for his ability to stand in the pocket and deliver accurate throws with Chippewa Valley’s pass rush in his face.

“He ran the ball really well and he’s got a great arm,” Merchant said. “Some of those deep balls he threw were just great plays that you can’t really blame the kids.”

Myren Harris powered ahead for a total of 25 yards in two carries to start Chippewa Valley’s next drive. His twin brother, Myles, would promptly end it on the following play with a 55-yard touchdown reception on a post route, extending the Chippewa Valley lead to 27-13 with 1:23 to go in the third quarter.

“I actually called it,” Myren said. “I said as soon as we start running, they’re going to stack the box and eventually the post came open.”

More games

Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard 14, Macomb Lutheran North 7: Jack Smith had six carries for 98 yards for Gabriel Richard (3-0). Angelo Basilisco was 20-for-28 passing for 196 yards and had 10 carries for 60 yards and one rushing touchdown, and Justin Slaski had 12 tackles for North (1-2).

Birmingham Brother Rice 27, U-D Jesuit 7: Jack Lockwood had two touchdowns, Colin O’Hare one, and Greg Piscopink threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Cole Lacanaria for Brother Rice (3-0). Jesuit is 2-1.

Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 49, New Baltimore Anchor Bay 13: Myren Harris had one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown, Josh Kulka three touchdown passes and Miles Harris one touchdown catch and one fumble recovery for Chippewa Valley (4-0, 2-0 MAC Red). Anchor Bay is 0-4, 0-2.

Dearborn Fordson 47, Livonia Stevenson 29: Kaden Woodall had 20 carries for 168 yards and one rushing touchdown, four receptions for 20 yards and one interception for Stevenson (2-1, 1-1 KLAA East). Fordson is 3-0, 2-0.

Dearborn Heights Robichaud 32, Redford Thurston 31: David Williams was 10-for-14 passing for 244 yards and three touchdown passes, Kameron Underwood had four catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns, Ky-Shawn Jackson had five catches for 116 yards and one touchdown and Sykunie Watson had six carries for 60 yards and a touchdown for Robichaud (3-0, 2-0 Western Wayne). Thurston is 2-1, 1-1.

Detroit Central 9, Detroit Cody 6: Orlando Clarkston had 116 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown, and Jeremiah Dixon recorded eight tackles, two fumble recoveries and one sack for Central (2-1, 1-0 PSL). Cody is 1-2, 0-1.

Detroit Community 20, Ecorse 6: Dariontae Brown had a 98-yard kick return for a touchdown and a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown and Willie Rush had 12 tackles for Community (2-1, 1-0 Michigan Metro). Ecorse is 0-3.

Detroit Denby 46, Detroit Southeastern 0: Latrell Tompkins had four sacks, 11 tackles, two forced fumbles and one touchdown, Semaj McDonald had eight carries, 97 yards, two scores, three sacks and seven tackles, and Marquez Bridges had 192 all-purpose yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for Denby (3-0, 1-0 Detroit PSL). Southeastern is 1-2, 0-1.

Detroit Edison 52, Flint Beecher 30: Mike Martin-El went 20-for-28 passing for 340 yards and six touchdowns, Vincent Cooley had 10 catches for 210 yards and four scores to go with seven tackles, and Ed Gregory and Alex Holmes each had an interception for Edison (2-2). Beecher is 1-3.

Detroit Renaissance 42, Detroit Collegiate 8: Raekuan Beal was 8-for-11 passing with 175 yards and three touchdowns, Donnell Adams Jr. had a 60-yard punt return touchdown, one rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown, and Devon Brown had two receiving touchdowns for Renaissance (2-1, 1-0 PSL). Collegiate is 0-3, 0-2.

Garden City 21, Redford Union 12: Ithan Cholewa had 16 carries for 143 yards with one rushing touchdown and one touchdown reception for Garden City (2-1, 2-0 Western Wayne). Union is 1-2, 1-1.

Harper Woods 44, Detroit University Prep 0: Kodi Cooper had a 75-yard punt return touchdown, Demauri Dorsey had two rushing touchdowns, and Christion Stokes had one rushing touchdown with four sacks for Harper Woods (2-1, 1-0 Michigan Metro Blue). University Prep is 1-3, 0-2.

Grosse Pointe South 27, Warren Mott 0: Alex Shaheen was 14-for-26 passing for 192 yards and two touchdowns, James Doerer had eight tackles and one tackle for loss, and Max Gavagn had six tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack for South (2-1, 2-0 MAC White). Mott is 2-1, 2-0.

Livonia Franklin 48, Livonia Stevenson 22: Jake Kelbert went 15-for-21 passing for 238 yards and two touchdowns and had 10 carries for 80 yards and three touchdowns for Franklin (4-0, 3-0 KLAA East). Ray Kastl went 12-for-19 passing for 234 yards and two scores, Dillon Johnson had six receptions for 124 yards and two touchdowns, and Caden Woodall had 21 carries for 77 yards and a score plus three catches for 46 yards for Stevenson (2-2, 1-2).

Macomb Dakota 50, New Baltimore Anchor Bay 12: De’Javion Stepney had 150 yards rushing, two touchdowns and a 45-yard touchdown catch, Zach Droski had two touchdowns, and Caiden Sloan had 100 yards rushing and a score for Dakota (2-1, 1-0 MAC Red). Anchor Bay is 0-3, 0-1.

Mount Clemens 38, Detroit University Prep Science and Math 0: Don Williams had 254 yards rushing, four touchdowns and one touchdown pass, and Tayshaun Peterson recorded eight tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble, one punt block and a 26-yard touchdown catch for Mount Clemens (3-0). UPSM is 0-3.

Macomb Lutheran North 34, Allen Park Cabrini 3: Angelo Bafilisco was 10-for-16 passing for 181 yards and three touchdowns with 12 carries for 72 yards, Gary Glaser had four catches for 62 yards and two touchdowns, and Alec Vandermeer had 11 tackles for Lutheran North (2-2, 1-0 Catholic League). Jackson Stanley had six catches for 74 yards for Cabrini (2-2, 0-1).

North Farmington 22, Ferndale 0: Jacob Bousamra was 9-for-16 passing for 157 yards and one touchdown, and Myles Gresham had 17 carries for 61 yards and one rushing touchdown for North Farmington (3-0, 2-0 OAA). Ferndale is 1-2, 1-1.

Ortonville Brandon 55, Clio 0: Micah Miller went 6-for-11 passing for 167 yards and two touchdowns, Adrien Williams had three rushing scores, Brandon Gunn had 201 all-purpose yards and one touchdown, and Peyton Gulledge had 10 tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery for Brandon (3-0, 1-0 Flint Metro). Clio is 0-3, 0-1.

Plymouth 15, Canton 13: Mike Mathias had 15 carries for 98 yards and a punt block, Ivan Davis scored a touchdown, and Nick Downs had a 62-yard touchdown pass to Logan Walklui for Plymouth (3-0, 2-0 KLAA West). Caden Domzalski had seven carries for 81 yards and a 7-yard score for Canton (1-2, 1-1).

Riverview 24, Flat Rock 6: Jimari Moultrie had 26 carries for 192 yards and two touchdowns, and Preston Thompson had one score and one interception for Riverview (3-0, 2-0 Huron). Ravion Davis had 14 carries for 104 yards rushing and went 4-for-9 passing for 80 yards and one touchdown for Flat Rock (1-2, 1-1).

Trenton 21, Allen Park 20: Nico Tiberia had 24 carries for 272 yards and two touchdowns for Allen Park (3-1, 3-1 Downriver). Trenton (2-2, 2-2) blocked a field goal with one second left.

Utica Ford 28, Utica 7: Taveon Thompson had two rushing touchdowns, Xavier Ignace had one receiving touchdown, and Mathew Awe had one receiving touchdown for Utica Ford (1-2, 1-1 MAC White). Utica is 2-1, 1-1.

Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer; Detroit News staff contributed.