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Friday's high school football roundup: S.H. Stevenson earns share of MAC Red title

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

Sterling Heights — Sterling Heights Stevenson withstood 21 uninterrupted points from Grosse Pointe South in the fourth quarter and Tony Shumate took a 49-yard touchdown run up the sideline with 2:17 remaining to give Stevenson the 42-35  win and a share of the Macomb Area Conference Red title on Friday night. 

Junior running back/linebacker Jordan Kwiatkowski had 211 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns, junior quarterback Biagio Madonna was 10-for-17 passing for 254 yards, and Shumate had 90 rushing yards, plus the winning touchdown for Stevenson (4-1, 4-1).

““I’m proud. We’re MAC Red champs,” Madonna said. “I was an eighth-grader when we only won two games.

“I was going to Stevenson, and I was like, ‘I want to change some things.’ That’s what we did, and it’s all thanks to coach (Justin) Newcomb.”

Stevenson's Jordan Kwiatkowski is off to the races, breaking tackles and taking it into the end zone for a touchdown in the first half.

Newcomb was likewise thankful for his quarterback, particularly the play he made in a third-and-17 situation in Stevenson territory on the winning drive. Madonna rolled right under pressure and let it fly just before crossing out of bounds, finding Justin Smith at the sideline for a 23-yard pickup that kept the drive alive.

“You get nervous playing that defense because they do such a great job,” Newcomb said. “We thought we could see some things in the pass game and let our production hold up, and we were able to make plays.”

Kwiatkowski has stepped into a full-time role at running back after star back Jordan Ramsey went down, and Madonna had an easy time describing what he’s seen from the touchdown machine.

“One word: tough,” Madonna said. “He’s running the ball, catching, tackling, I mean, what else? He’s a beast. That’s what he is. He’s a beast, and I’m proud to be one of his teammates.”

More:Detroit News high school football scoreboard: Week 5

Stevenson had a chance to go up two scores in the fourth after South cut its lead to 35-28 when Madonna fumbled near the red zone, opening the door for South to tie the score with 5:09 left.

Madonna said that didn’t shake his confidence heading into the final drive.

“I was just thinking, ‘We’re going to win,’” Madonna said. “I’m made for these moments. I like to consider myself one of the clutch quarterbacks.”

Egan Sullivan carried 21 times for 125 yards and two touchdowns and Will Johnson had 11 carries for 66 yards and three rushing touchdowns for South (3-2, 3-2).

Stevenson marched down the field with ease on its opening drive, traveling 78 yards in six plays before Kwiatkowski exploded up the gut for a 19-yard touchdown run. 

Cam Braithwaite returned the ensuing kickoff to his team’s 43. Three plays later, Sullivan broke loose and shook off a tackler on his way to a 50-yard touchdown run that tied the score at 7. 

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Madonna wasted no time getting the ball back to his top playmaker. He connected with Kwiatkowski for a 24-yard pickup on the second play of the drive before getting it back to the junior back on his next pass attempt for a 39-yard touchdown pass. 

Stevenson’s Justin Smith intercepted a pass on third-and-18 to get the ball back at midfield with 1:11 left in the first quarter. 

Two plays later, Madonna and Kwiatkowski were at it again. Madonna rolled to his right and tossed it across the field to Kwiatkowski, who threw off a defender on his way to the 49-yard touchdown score that put Stevenson up 21-7 with 51 seconds to go in the opening frame. 

Will Johnson stepped in to take snaps at quarterback after a 28-yard completion for South on its next drive. Johnson led a wildcat formation that resulted in two runs of 9 yards before Johnson punched it in from 4 yards out to make it 21-14, early in the second quarter. 

South couldn’t stop the offensive clinic put on by its opponent. Stevenson regained its 14-point lead with 8:21 to go in the half on a 27-yard passing touchdown to Dylan Kleinedler. 

Madonna’s first mistake came with 6:21 to go in the second quarter. Luke Srebernak intercepted an overthrown ball over the middle and returned it to the Stevenson 25. 

But before long, it was Stevenson’s Smith fixing the error with his second interception of the game, taking it all the way back to South’s 23. 

Stevenson’s Shumate and South’s Justin Maccagnone would each add an interception before the half was over. 

After nearly recovering a pooch kick on the second-half kickoff, South quickly forced another another turnover; Kwiatkowski got popped near the sideline, forcing a fumble, and Jackson Lambert recovered at the South 45. 

Stevenson then forced a three-and-out and blocked the punt, which was recovered by John Tate at the 12. Kwiatkowski punched it in from 1 yard out to give Stevenson a 35-14 lead with 7:34 to go in the third quarter.

Sullivan scored his second touchdown of the game for South just a few minutes later, a 1-yard rush that cut Stevenson’s lead to 35-21.

South caught a huge break heading into the fourth quarter. Stevenson moved the ball well, Maddona took off, and looked like he might have another huge gain in his pocket before getting stripped at the 25 to give South the ball back.

Sullivan helped march South into enemy territory before a 30-yard completion to Charlie Brandon set up first-and-goal. Johnson scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to cut Stevenson’s deficit to 35-28 with 8:21 to go.

Sullivan then swiped the ball from Stevenson’s return man on the ensuing kickoff to give South the ball back at the Stevenson 20-yard-line. 

Johnson punched it in for South on fourth-and-goal at the 4-yard-line, his third touchdown of the night, to tie things up at 35 with 5:09 to go. 

Madonna threw a 23-yard completion to Smith down the sideline on third-and-17, opening the door for a 49-yard touchdown run by Shumate that put Stevenson back up by 7 with 2:17 remaining.

More Friday games

Dearborn Fordson 18, Dearborn 0: Ali Hazimi had 160 yards rushing and Noah Dolbert had 80 yards receiving for Dearborn (2-3). Fordson is 3-2.

Detroit Southeastern 48, Detroit Central 34: Deshawn Matthews had 31 carries for 251 yards and two touchdowns, Leron Roseboro was 7-for-13 passing for 11 yards and two touchdowns and had 64 yards rushing with one rushing touchdown, and Dominic Harris had seven sacks and six tackles for Southeastern (5-0). Kenyatta McKeever had five receptions for 135 yards and three touchdowns, Justyz Tuggle was 8-for-13 passing for 319 yards and two touchdowns, and Tristian Duncan had six tackles and three sacks for Central (4-1).

Hazel Park 34, Madison Heights Madison 20: Matt Diaz was 22-for-29 passing for 467 yards and four touchdowns, Patrick White had seven receptions for 217 yards and three touchdowns, and Canaan Aho had nine receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown for Hazel Park (1-4). Madison is 0-5.

Livonia Churchill 24, Livonia Stevenson 20: Caden Woodall had 23 carries for 260 yards and two touchdowns and completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Landen Macek for Stevenson (2-3). Churchill is 4-1.

Ortonville Brandon 56, Clio 6: Micah Miller was 7-for-11 passing for 124 yards and two touchdowns, Brayton MacQueen had two touchdowns rushing and one receiving, Peyton Gulledge had eight tackles and a sack and Brennan Wetzel had five tackles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown for Brandon (5-0). Clio is 0-5.

Salem 19, Plymouth 3: Garrett Cygan was 4-for-7 passing for 95 yards and two touchdowns for Salem (1-4). Plymouth is 1-4.

Utica Ford 26, Macomb L’Anse Creuse North 12: Gary Nelson rushed for 160 yards and had two touchdowns and returned a fumble 80 yards for a touchdown, Luke Kameg was 6-for-12 passing for 190 yards and had 25 rushing yards, and Ryan Morgan had 10 tackles and one interception for Utica Ford (1-4). L'Anse Creuse North is 0-3.  

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