Solid start for defending Division I state champs

Most state football observers consider Redford Catholic Central the top team in Michigan. The two-time defending champions showed why in Saturday's 41-7 win at the Prep Kickoff Classic, hosted by the Pontiac Silverdome.

The Shamrocks built a 34-0 lead in the first half, scoring on all five of its possessions in the first two quarters. Catholic Central picked up touchdown runs from Derek Brooks, Nick Barrett, Dave Thomas and Eric Vojtkofsky.

When Brooks scored from 65 yards away in the first drive of the second half, the Shamrocks were up 41-zip.

"We came ready to play," said Catholic Central coach Tom Mach. "It's tough going the early part of the game. I'm happy with the way the guys responded."

Brooks, who led his team to the state title game a year ago, had 126 yards rushing to place a 248-ground attack for the winners.

"Defensively, we did a very good job," Mach said. "We adjusted well to things."

"We came out pretty strong with a good week of practice," said linebacker Darnell Tyson said. ‘We knew we had to come out strong to start the season."

In another Kickoff Classic game, the team Catholic Central defeated last year, East Kentwood, showed that it's ready to make another challenge for a state title after blasting perennial power Birmingham Brother Rice 44-7.

The Falcons rolled up 350 yards on the ground and made the big plays.

Noel Aleman, the all-state running back, who gained 2,800 yards last year, rushed to 132 yards and touchdown runs of 60 and 62 yards, to lead a stunning Falcon attack that built a 28-0 first half lead.

Ron Burns gained 92 yards while Kyle Hinton had 57 yards rushing and scoring runs of 6 and 3 yards. Dan Voetbert also had a touchdown run and on the only pass East Kentwood threw all day, quarterback Kyle Perry connected 82 yards to a wide-open Corey Crutcher.

East Kentwood is the defending Division I runners-up while Brotther Rice lost in the Division 2 state finals to Lowell, a neighbor of East Kentwood last year.

The Warriors were held to 152 yards rushing and 83 passing. Doug Pickens, the Brother Rice quarterback, led his team with 90 rushing yards. Pickens had his team's only touchdown, a 76-yard run early in the third quarter.

From the start, it was simply no contest.

"We did everything we could to stop them," said Brother Rice coach Al Fracassa. "They executed very well."

"We got off to a great start," said Hinton, adding that while key offensive linemen graduated from last year's team, "the ones we had this year are backups and they're just as good as last season."

East Kentwood coach John Shillito was happy with his team's defensive effort.

"We were pleased with the effort we got from the defensive backs," Shillito said. "Pickens was tough to get to. But our kids did a good job in the secondary."

In other Kickoff Classic games, Orchard Lake St. Mary scored all of its points in the first quarter en route to a 21-0 blanking of Harper Woods Notre Dame. Free safety Morgan Trent, who has committed to the University of Michigan, returned an interception for a touchdown, while Casey Treadaway ran for a couple of scores.

"I was pleased with our defense," said St. Mary's coach George Proitt. "Our offense struggled a little bit. We have to be more consistent. But this is just our first game."

Trinity of Detroit defeated St. Christopher of Sarnia, Ontario, 45-0 in the Classic's first game. The losing team was held to 75 total yards.

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