Everest’s defense controls Bishop Foley’s offense in 24-13 gridiron victory

MADISON HEIGHTS — “They never touch the ball, but they’re the strength of our team. Their attitude sets our culture.”

Coach Mike Pruchnicki had high praise for his offensive line in Clarkston Everest Collegiate’s 24-13 victory over Bishop Foley in a CHSL Intersectional 2 match last Friday evening.

The nature of being a lineman in the gridiron trenches calls for a lot of grunting, pushing and shoving.

“We just pushed harder,” explained sophomore right guard Aidan Beauchamp on how Everest (3-0; 1-0 Intersectional 2) corralled Bishop Foley’s running attack to a little more than 100 yards and, conversely, opened the way for Everest’s runners to amass 277 yards.

The Ventures were forced to the air with dire consequences. Senior quarterback Braden Mussat, under pressure most of the game, threw 42 passes, completed just 18 for 251 yards — but four of his aerials were intercepted, one resulting in Everest’s first touchdown.

Everest’s junior Dominic Cross was responsible for two of the interceptions by being in the right place at the right time, snagging balls that deflected off receivers’ hands.

Everest’s Johnny Nedwick (24) gets ready to bring down Bishop Foley’s Cooper Harbowy, a scene that typified Everest’s defense containment of Foley’s rushing attack for a 28-13 victory. (Photo by Sue Mussat)

Bishop Foley (3-1; 0-1) had marched from its own 20 to Everest’s 28 when Cross raced 72 yards with one of the interceptions to put the Mountaineers ahead 7-0 late in the first quarter.

They scored again early in the second quarter for a 14-0 halftime lead when junior quarterback Giovanni Mastromatteo found sophomore wide receiver Joey Thibodeau open over the middle for a 25-yard strike.

Mastromatteo would throw only five more passes with one completion and one interception the rest of the game.

Mussat and junior wide receiver Nick Harnadek combined on a 15-yard play to reduce the score to 14-7 near the end of the third quarter.

Pruchnicki called junior running back Jack Lasceski’s number sparingly in the first half, eight times for 32 yards. But he cut him loose 20 times in the second half for 129 yards.

Lasceski accounted for 47 yards of a 61-yard drive, hitting the end zone on a 12-yard burst through the right side to raise Everest’s advantage of 21-7.

It took Bishop Foley only 62 seconds to respond. Mussat hit Lucas Juricic with a 53-yard pass down the left sideline to the 1-yard line to set up a touchdown plunge by Cooper Harbowy. The missed extra point made it 21-13.

Lasceski carried the ball eight times, five in a row, for 42 yards before a 27-yard field goal by Fernando Caccia — the only senior on Everest’s 21-player roster — for the final three points.

The game ended when Mastromatteo intercepted Mussat’s pass at midfield.

Beauchamp — the Mountaineers’ tallest and heaviest player at 6-feet-4, 245 pounds — anchored Everest’s offensive line of junior left tackle Steven Czach, sophomore left guard Matthew Ross, junior center Johnny Suran and sophomore right tackle Diego Ramirez-Gomez.

“We haven’t seen a defense that well coached,” Foley coach Brian Barnes said. “We’ll have to regroup.”

CHSL gridiron heating up

Four key games are on tap Friday, Sept. 27 (all start 7 p.m.), as CHSL division races begin to take shape.

CENTRAL: Warren De La Salle (2-2; 0-1) at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (4-0; 0-0) — The Pilots were crushed by Muskegon and upended by Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice 16-14. The Eaglets have passed stern tests by Macomb Dakota and Walled Lake Western.

DOUBLE A: University of Detroit Jesuit (2-2; 1-0) at Dearborn Divine Child (3-1; 2-0) — Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood is a common opponent they have faced: U of D won easily 40-3, Divine Child slipped past 14-10. Does it mean anything? Could be best game of the night.

INTERSECTIONAL 1: Macomb Lutheran North (2-2; 1-0) at Riverview Gabriel Richard (3-1; 1-0) — A year ago, Richard outlasted North 57-54 in four overtimes. The winner probably wins the division.

INTERSECTIONAL 2: Bishop Foley (3-1; 0-1) at Royal Oak Shrine (4-0; 1-0) — This could be a shoot-out between two archrivals. Will Foley recover from losing to Everest? Will Shrine be looking ahead to meeting Everest in three weeks?

On Sunday, Sept. 29, 1 p.m.: Brother Rice (4-0; 1-0) at Novi Detroit Catholic Central (2-2; 0-0) — Was it a surprise that Rice beat De La Salle? Was it a surprise Catholic Central beat Detroit Martin Luther King? It’s the Shamrocks' annual Boys Bowl. Catholic Central will be pumped.

An earlier version of this story had an incorrect score in the headline and opening paragraphs.