In Play with Tom Markowski

D'Angelo returns to Country Day as the opposing coach, Country Day thumps Cranbrook Kingswood, 42-6 in Division 4

Football   | Tom Markowski

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Beverly Hills – Midway through the second quarter of its Division 4 district final against Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, the coaching staff at Detroit Country Day began turning its attention to Milan (9-2), next week’s regional final opponent.

Lanard Graham became the fifth different player to score a touchdown for Country Day giving the Yellowjackets a 36-0 lead and there was still over five minutes to play in the first half.

Country Day led 42-0 at halftime and eased its way to a 42-6 victory over the Cranes in what was a homecoming of sorts for Cranbrook Kingswood coach Joe D’Angelo.

D’Angelo was the head coach at Country Day for 21 seasons (1977-97) and guided the program to two state titles (’86 and ’95).

Dan MacLean was an assistant under D’Angelo and he took over the program when D’Angelo left.  

The former Detroit St. Ambrose halfback took over the program and Cranbrook Kingswood in 2012 and has helped make the Cranes relevant. They made the playoffs each of the past two season after finishing 2-7 in 2012 and last week they notched the program’s second playoff victory.

On Saturday D’Angelo got a taste of what it’s like to be on the visiting sidelines at Country Day.

Country Day (10-1) scored a touchdown on each of its first six possessions and its defense was just as efficient.

Cranbrook Kingswood (9-2) was held to a minus-eight yards in offense and one first down in the first half. Junior quarterback Tyler Santangelo was sacked three times for 20 yards in losses and twice he was intercepted.

Running back Larry Penson scored the first (28-yard run) and last touchdown (17-yard run) of the half. He had seven carries for 76 yards.

“I feel badly for the kids,” D’Angelo said. “We didn’t want the season to end like this.

“They’re good. I know Dan. He was going to come at us. I go back when I was at Country Day. We had to play (Detroit) De Porres. And until we beat De Porres we couldn’t establish ourselves.”

MacLean said it was an emotional week for him preparing to play against the person who gave him his shot at being a head coach. And as gratifying as the victory was, it also caused some pain. MacLean’s son, Michael, is a senior and a two-way starter (linebacker-running back). Michael MacLean suffered an ankle injury in the first half and had to be helped off the field. His father said the extent of the injury is uncertain.

“We had the advantage of the wind (in the first quarter) and we took advantage of that,” MacLean said. “The kids played well defensively and we covered up what they did. It was difficult, knowing Joe all those years. It isn’t always about us. It’s about the kids.

“(D’Angelo) gave me a chance, a chance to do what I wanted to do. I learned a lot watching him. It was a hard week. ”

Country Day will host Milan in next week’s regional round. The game will be played Saturday at 1 p.m. with the winner advancing to the semifinal.