Abdelkader, DeKeyser have big rooting interest in Division 2 football final

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Danny DeKeyser

Detroit – They met up in 2014 and now they’re at it again four years later.

Only this time, Justin Abdelkader is hoping for a different outcome.

Friday’s Division 2 state high school football championship (1 p.m., FSD) will pit Abdelkader’s Muskegon Mona Shores against Danny DeKeyser’s Warren De La Salle.

In 2014, De La Salle rolled to a 44-8 victory over Mona Shores, costing Abdelkader a dinner bet.

“We were banged up coming into that game,” Abdelkader remembers. “But give De La Salle credit.”

Abdelkader is hoping for a different outcome this time around.

“Hopefully we can avenge that loss,” said Abdelkader, who played football at Mona Shores as a freshman and sophomore. “We’re healthier going into this game, but De La Salle has been playing real good, too.”

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Mona Shores is 12-1, De La Salle is 11-2.

De La Salle is also defending state champion, having defeated Livonia Franklin 41-6 last season.

DeKeyser has been keeping tabs since late in the season, and particularly through the playoffs, eager to see if the two schools would wind up at this point again.

“I keep track of it, especially in the state playoffs, checking to see what is going on and seeing who is beating who,” DeKeyser said. “I saw there was actually a chance they’d play again, and it’s pretty cool (they are). I’m hoping we go 2-for-2 – that would be good.”

Justin Abdelkader

No revenge factor

Heading into Wednesday’s game the Bruins were 14-1-1 over the last 16 between the teams, including earning points in the last nine (8-0-1).

Earlier this season, the Bruins defeated the Wings 8-2.

“We’re trying to win a hockey game tonight, against a good team, and they’re trying to win a hockey game,” said coach Jeff Blashill, not believing there’s any sort of revenge on the Wings’ minds. “The fact is they’ve had the best of us over the last little bit, no question. We have to find a way to change that.”

Big Krug fan

Blashill coached Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (Livonia/Michigan State) in junior hockey in Indianapolis (USHL).

Watching how Krug, 27, has overcome the odds and reached the NHL has been enjoyable for Blashill.

“He’s been doubted his whole life, and those guys who’ve been doubted their whole life, the inner drive burns inside of them and they play with a chip on their shoulder and wind up being great players,” Blashill said. “You never know what the future brings. He didn’t get drafted in the NHL and didn’t get drafted in the USHL.

“I was lucky to have him come out to our tryout camp. That’s an amazing story (not being drafted in the USHL) when you think about it, that’s not too long ago. You never count people out with that kind of inner drive, will and moxie.

“He’s one of the favorite players I’ve ever coached. You want to talk about making big plays at big moments, when the game is on the line, he has ice in his veins.”


Twitter @tkulfan