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Groves tops Harrison in defensive battle, advances to second round of Division 2 playoffs

Football   | Jeff Dullack

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Beverly Hills – Despite holding a 3-0 lead over Farmington Hills Harrison late in Friday’s first round playoff game, Birmingham Groves coach Brendan Flaherty felt his team needed a big play in order to hold off Harrison.

But what the Falcons got were several big time plays from quarterback Beau Kewley, who marched Groves down the field for a 97-yard touchdown drive to secure a 10-0 win over Harrison.

Flaherty said that he was confident after his defense’s strong first half effort and credited his players for stepping up and making key plays on offense in the second half against a stout Harrison defense.

“I felt confident when we had a good first half,” he said. “I thought we had good momentum going into the second half. I thought that we just had to make a couple of plays on offense, I thought we’d hang in there with them on defense, but we needed to make plays on offense and Nick Moore and Beau stepped up big and our guys just did what they had to do.”

With the win, Groves advances to the second round of the Division 2 playoffs, where it will face Walled Lake Western, who topped Walled Lake Northern on Friday night.

With Groves clinging to the 3-0 lead, pinned inside their own 5-yard line after a Harrison punt, instead of trying to drain the clock on third down with the clock running inside seven minutes, Kewley threw a pass to Nick Moore for a 45 yard gain. 

Later in the drive, Kewley and Moore would connect again on a 33 yard pass, again on third down to give the Falcons a first down inside the Harrison 15-yard line.

Kewley said that he and his teammates knew what to do and was excited to have the game in his hands down the stretch.

“It was great,” he said. “We knew what we had to do and the fact that he (Flaherty) had that kind of faith in me, I’m without words. We knew we could get the ball to Nick Moore and we’ve been making those plays all season we just had that connection.”

After the Harrison defense forced a fourth down, instead of opting to attempt a 25-yard field goal, Groves chose to throw one more pass on a play-action bootleg as Kewley rolled out and found Daniel Williams for a 9-yard touchdown to all but clinch the win, giving the Falcons a 10-0 lead with 2:16 left to play.

“At some point in time, we have to make a play,” he said. “We had to make a play and if we don’t, we’re not going to continue to move through the playoffs. So we just said let’s throw this sprint out. Beau threw a beautiful ball and on the fourth down play, I wanted to score, we could have run the quarterback sneak to try and get the first down, but I thought we could catch them.”

Kewley said that with the way the Groves defense was play, he and his teammates were confident that the defense would hold up and hold on to get the win.

“I have the most confidence in our defense,” he said. “They’ve been amazing all season and I knew they could go out there and get it done.”

Groves took the lead early on in the fourth quarter when Christian Sosa connected for a 35-yard field goal to give the Falcons a 3-0 lead.