Like a perfectly-tuned race car, Birmingham Seaholm was firing on all cylinders on the football field Friday night, as the Maples hummed their way to an emphatic 56-28 drubbing of Auburn Hills Avondale on the road in a critical early-season grudge-match of Oakland Activities Association Blue Division favorites.
"We played with purpose and a great deal of passion,' second-year Seaholm coach Jim DeWald said. "There were a lot of different guys that came up big and the scores we gave up I think we're more them (Avondale) making outstanding plays, than us making serious mistakes. Those are both good signs."
DeWald is looking to lead the Maples (2-0) to a second consecutive OAA Blue crown.
Out of the gates this fall, Seaholm appears equally, if not more dangerous than last season.
In Week 1, the Maples trounced Ann Arbor Pioneer 24-0, the second year in a row the team has opened the campaign with a shutout
On Friday, they were purring and preening the entire way.
Staking out to a 21-7 advantage in a first half chalk full of "home-run plays," from both squads, Seaholm found itself tied 21-21 in the final minutes of the second quarter, before its special teams play sparked a string of four straight touchdowns by the Maples that put the contest out of reach.
Seaholm recovered a muffed Avondale (1-1) punt at the Yellow Jackets 32-yard line, which the Maples offense turned into "7" prior to the halftime whistle on a 15-yard scoring strike from senior quarterback Brandon Altman to senior wide receiver Kerry Mott on a text-book fade-route to the left side of the end zone with 3 seconds remaining in the half.
Altman added a 52-yard touchdown run, rushing for 163 yards on the evening, while expertly navigating the controls of the Seaholm offense.
It was the Maples special teams that was doing destruction again early in the third quarter.
Junior Seaholm wide receiver Austin Paritee scooped up a blocked punt and scampered 20 yards for the score and a 35-21 Maples' lead that had the home team staggered and gasping for air.
"As soon as I saw the ball pop out, I just picked it up and ran," said Paritee of his recovery and score in the third. "I didn't hesitate for a second and luckily I had a clear path to the goal-line. "My teammates got to the punter and I was there to finish the job. I think it was an important play because we were coming out of the half and wanted to keep applying pressure like we had been at the end of the second quarter."
Senior tailback Nick Vestivich's 16-yard touchdown run ballooned the score to 42-21 in favor of Seaholm with 11;37 to go.
And then guess who was there to drive the knife into the Yellow Jackets' heart?
Yes, that's correct, the Maples' special teams unit puts the proverbial icing on the cake with a blocked punt in the end zone recovered by senior safety Dylan Kanaan that had the scoreboard reading 49-21 midway through the fourth frame and the Seaholm sideline rocking-and-rolling with spirited emotion.
Avondale's effort was highlighted by running back Josh Holloman.
The heavily-touted junior speedster put on a one-man show in the opening 24 minutes of action, establishing himself by far the best player on the field when he rushed for 215 yards and three touchdowns (66, 1, 99) in the first half alone.
His 66-yard dash came on the Yellow Jackets opening possession of the game and his 99-yarder was pure, unadulterated birlliance, seeing Holloman take a pitch in his own end zone, evade two tacklers in safety territory, make it to the left hash and blaze down the sideline past the entire Maples defense, literally lost in his dust, as he streaked in for the breathtaking score.
Holloman, considered a top tailback prospect in the Midwest in Class of 2015 and a state-champion in the 100-yard dash, didn't gain a single yard in the second half, but was shelved by the Avondale coaching staff when things started to get out of hand for precautionary reasons.
Seaholm senior fullback Dominic Sierpien made his way into the end zone twice for the Maples on goal-line plunges, his second and third, respectively, of the campaign.