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Brother Rice starts fast, rolls past U-D Jesuit in season opener

Football   | Jeff Dullack

State Champs! Sports Network

Berkley – Often times for teams with new coaches, it can take time before a team finds its rhythm, especially in the first game of the season.

But Birmingham Brother Rice, led by new head coach Adam Korzeniewski, wasted little time getting things going on Friday as the Warriors played host to Catholic League rival Detroit U-D Jesuit.

The Warriors scored on their first possession of the game and jumped out to a 17-0 lead, as Brother Rice cruised to a 26-7 win to open up the 2017 season at Hurley Field in Berkley.

Korzeniewski said that he felt his team’s offense was confident entering Friday’s game and the Warriors were able to make a bit of a statement in the first half, jumping out to a three-score lead.

“I think we felt confident, we wanted the ball,” he said. “They’re a tough team, but I think we believed that we were going to be able to do that. At least put the drive together and get some form of points on the board and I think it was tougher than we expected and that’s a credit to them.”

Brother Rice jumped ahead in the early stages on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Valenti to Reese Trahey that gave the Warriors a 7-0 advantage on the first drive of the game.

Valenti said that he was pleased with his team’s play early on and added that being able to score early on was a big boost for himself and his teammates.

“I think we had a good tempo,” he said. “It’s got to be better, but we started off really hot, it was a good first drive, we scored on the drive. Then we cooled down a little bit, but we’ll get better.”

After a Christian Najjar field goal pushed the lead to 10-0, the Brother Rice offense would keep its foot on the gas as Jack Moran scored from a yard out to increase the Warriors’ lead to 17-0 with 9:44 left in the second quarter.

U-D’s touchdown came with 3:30 left before halftime as Mr. Football candidate Elijah Collins found the end zone on a 4-yard run to cut the deficit to 17-7.

But the Brother Rice defense would contain Collins and the U-D  offense for the remainder of the game, shutting out the Cubs in the second half.

Korzeniewski credited defensive coordinator Greg Piscopink for the Warriors’ game plan for Friday’s game as they were able to limit what is expected to be an explosive U-D rushing attack for the majority of the game.

“Coach Piscopink put together a heck of a system this week,” he said. “Obviously, their passing game isn’t as strong as their run game, so I think we were able to focus a little more in our coverage and not have to defend the pass as much.”

While neither team had much success on the offensive side of the ball in the second half, Brother Rice all but put the game away with 9:23 left to play in the fourth quarter as Valenti scored on a 9-yard run to give Brother Rice a 24-7 lead.

Valenti praised the play of his offensive line throughout the game and said that the blocking was key on his touchdown run to put the game out of reach.

“We had a pulling guard come through, we spread them (U-D Jesuit) all out and I just ran,” he said. “Great blocking, my line did a great job today, they made a perfect block and I ran it in.”