Donovan Edwards, West Bloomfield overpower Sterling Heights Stevenson 63-6
There was going to be no stopping Donovan Edwards at Runkel Field on Saturday. The senior running back totaled six touchdowns in the first half for West Bloomfield, which went on to overpower Sterling Heights Stevenson 63-6 in a district final.
“Donovan is the best player in the state of Michigan. He did what he had to do today," West Bloomfield coach Ron Bellamy said. "But he couldn’t have got it done without the 10 other guys on offense with him.”
Edwards ran in the game’s first four scores to give West Bloomfield a 28-0 lead early in the second quarter.
“I’m never told to run anywhere specifically," Edwards said. "I go where I see is open. I ran extra hard after first contact.”
Stevenson’s offense had a rough start and repeatedly gave West Bloomfield great field position during the first half. It was a mixture of short punts by quarterback Biagio Madonna and muffed kickoff returns.
West Bloomfield defense end Niles King jumped on a Madonna pass and returned it for a touchdown with 9:42 left in the second quarter.
“Defense was lights out, since the beginning,” Edwards said.
West Bloomfield's coach was also very satisfied with the plays made on defense.
“I was proud of our defense, they shut them down," Bellamy said. "Our coaches do a phenomenal job of game-planning and we’re proud of this victory."
Madonna scored on a 3-yard with 4:07 left in the first half to give Stevenson its lone score. The 89-yard drive was highlighted by Jordan Kwiatkowski's 36-yard run.
The key for West Bloomfield was containing Stevenson's backfield of Kwiatkowski and senior Tony Shumate, Bellamy said.
“We controlled the line of scrimmage," he said. "That’s a big and physical football team. Kwiatkowski does a phenomenal job and with Shumate. Those are studs out there."
West Bloomfield quarterback Alex Shorts threw a touchdown to Maxwell Hairston, making it 49-6 with 3:34 left before halftime.
Stevenson had a third muffed kick return soon after. Shorts and the West Bloomfield offense took advantage with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Edwards over two defenders. That would be his sixth score of the day, a catch that sparked excitement and celebration from the sideline.
“What makes him so unique — we’ve seen some great players in Michigan, John Kelly, Mike Weber — they don’t have the ability to catch passes and run routes like (Edwards) does,” Bellamy said.
Both teams had backup players in the second half and the game was stamped with a 19-yard touchdown run by West Bloomfield’s Rick Nance. Bellamy and his team shifted focus to next week, hosting Romeo.
“We play a Romeo (5-4) team that has hit its peak. You can’t look at their record and say hey they lost four games,” Bellamy said. “They have our attention.”
Edwards put emphasis on the coaching staff and what was left on his team’s plate in the playoffs.
“The coaches do everything for us," he said. "They care about us as their sons. They keep pushing us and motivating us. There’s always work to be done, and getting to the state championship is an expectation for us.”
West Bloomfield lost to Belleville 27-22 in the regional final last season.
“We trust the game and respect the game and these kids love football. We’re just blessed and honored that we can still play football right now,” Bellamy said.
Zach Sturgill is a freelance writer.