In Play with Tom Markowski

Divine Child recovers from blowout, upsets Allen Park

Football   | Tom Markowski

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Dearborn – It took coach John Filiatraut six days and four hours to convince his Dearborn Divine Child team they were a good football team, and that they belonged in the state playoffs with the other 255 teams.

On October 25 Divine Child suffered the humiliation of losing 70-6 at Ford Field. The Falcons played Detroit Loyola that afternoon and got beat almost every way possible.

Loyola (10-0), though it competes in Division 7, is a run-oriented, powerful team that has the ability to wear down teams physically and, in the end mentally.  

Last Friday Divine Child, with its tail between its legs, went to Allen Park to play a Division 3 pre-district. Few expected Allen Park to have much trouble ending Divine Child’s season.

“After the first quarter they figured out we weren’t as bad as they were the week before,” Filiatraut said. “And they scored in that first quarter. But they realized they weren’t playing Loyola. That was a competitive game we had with Allen Park.”

The outcome wasn’t decided until the final few minutes when Tyler Fugate made a 29-yard field goal with 2:35 left to give Divine Child a 9-7 lead.

But Allen Park (8-2) wasn’t through. The Jaguars drove into the red zone and twice attempted passes in the end zone but couldn’t get that winning score.

Divine Child (7-3) will play at Redford Thurston (7-3) on Saturday at 7 p.m. seeking its first district title since 2003.

Conditions on Allen Park’s grass field were poor at best. Cold temperatures, wind, rain and snow created havoc with the teams’ passing and kicking games.

One of the unsung heroes for Divine Child was center Travis Malinowski. So much depends on the center’s snap in shoddy conditions and Malinowski was on his game. Filiatraut employs the spread offense out of the shotgun and Malinowski also snaps on punts and kicks.

“He was perfect,” Filiatraut said. “He did a great job. The field held up well. We only had two penalties and no turnovers.”

That’ll keep teams in a game.

After scoring its touchdown Allen Park twice drove into the red zone in the first half and each time Divine Child’s defense made a big stop.

“At halftime, we were trailing 7-6, we must have taken eight minutes to decide what to do with the wind,” Filiatraut said. “Should we take it in the third quarter (Divine Child received the second half kickoff) or do we have in the fourth?

“Finally we decided our defense could keep us in it and we’d take it in the fourth. As a coach you always want to give your team a chance at the end to win it.”