DETROIT — “Well received.”
That’s how Catholic High School League Director Vic Michaels summed up Prep Bowl LI on Oct. 21 at Ford Field in downtown Detroit.
He said he received “a ton of positive feedback” about the hundreds and hundreds of presentations made between games and at halftimes to educators for service ranging from 25 to 50-plus years and to high school and CYO scholar-athletes for outstanding performances on both the field of play and in the classroom.
Michaels echoed a refrain he’s made annually, that of being “eternally grateful” to the Knights of Columbus for its unwavering sponsorship and participation in the Prep Bowl since its inception in 1973. Officers were on hand from early start to late finish to confer trophies and medals.
For years, the two top teams in the Central Division and two top in the AA Division would face each other in the Prep Bowl. “They didn’t like playing each other again,” Michaels said. “It didn’t bring in as many fans, and if a team were to lose both games, it would hurt their playoff draw” in the state tournament.
With the addition of four new schools from Toledo and one from Jackson, CHSL officials revamped the format of the Prep Bowl. The Central and AA division champs — Toledo Central Catholic and Jackson Lumen Christi respectively — played against public schools, Detroit Public School champs Cass Tech and Battle Creek Harper Creek respectively.
As before, the winners of the CHSL’s two Intersectional divisions met for the Cardinal Division championship, Clarkston Everest Collegiate and Macomb Lutheran North.
Michaels didn’t have overall attendance figures other than “it was pretty good.” He noted that “walk up sales” had increased three-fold. It was the first time that four of the six schools had played at Ford Field.
The exceptions were Lumen Christi, defending state Division 7 champ, who has won nine of the school’s dozen state titles there, and Everest, playing at Ford Field six times in the last seven years. The Mountaineers defeated Lutheran North, 35-28, for their fourth title.
Toledo CC 48, Cass Tech 23
Central Catholic coach Greg Dempsey said his team was excited about playing at Ford Field as soon as they heard about it. “Our goal was to get to Ford Field,” he said after the game. “When we arrived here Saturday morning, we changed it to ‘Let’s win at Ford Field.’”
The Fighting Irish offense plodded relentlessly to a 28-23 halftime lead and kept rolling in the second half, while the defense stiffened in the second half, limiting the Technicians to pretty much their own half of the gridiron.
Senior running back Marquan Braswell hit the end zone four times and piled up 133 yards in 26 carries. Quarterback Terry Collins scored from a yard out and connected with wide receiver Jaylen Watson for 50- and 47-yard TD passes.
Central Catholic (10-0), the defending Division 2 state champ in Ohio, heads into the playoffs with a 25-game win streak.
Lumen Christi 21, Harper Creek 14
Junior Kadale Williams added 213 yards on 24 carries to his 1,000 yards-plus rushing total and scored a pair of touchdowns, one a 54-yard pass from quarterback Timmy Crowley, the other a 33-yard run.
“We played well,” said coach Herb Brogan. “We made some mistakes that we gotta get cleaned up. Some impressive defense stops, too.”
The Titans (8-1), ranked No. 2 in Division 7, host Grass Lake (6-3) in a state district playoff game Oct. 28.
Brogan, with a 403-95 record accumulated in 44 years coaching, trails Farmington Hills John Herrington (443) and Brother Rice Al Fracassa (430) in the top three in wins at Michigan high schools.
“Obviously we did not get the win, and that hurts, but it was a great day for Harper Creek to play in this stadium and get this experience," Harper Creek coach Mason Converse said. “But I just told them, ‘Look around. You are here at Ford Field. Enjoy this experience. Take in this moment.”
Rochester Hills Holy Family defeated Bloomfield Hills St. Hugo, 28-24, for the CYO C-D championship. Coach Mike Sancimino boasted, “This is the first time an all-seventh grade team won this championship. There are only 18 of us, all undersized, but we kept fighting.”
In the CYO A-B contest, Rochester Hills Regional #1 romped 38-8 over Dearborn Divine Child. Coach Rich Sands said, “It was all about effort and attitude. Everyone contributed as much as he could for the team.”