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November 16, 2013

Brother Rice football stays perfect, rolls past U of D 41-14 in Division 2 regional final

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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While the offense continues to roll, Rice's defense was dominant as well Saturday. The Warriors had six sacks, two interceptions and a fumble in their 41-14 win.

BERKLEY — The champs keep rolling.

On offense, on defense, and everywhere between, the Birmingham Brother Rice football team is like a locomotive steaming downhill right now.

Good luck to anyone wanting to get in the way.

The Warriors kept their record perfect Saturday afternoon and once again extended the career of coach Al Fracassa at least one more week, scoring 31 first-half points and cruising past the University of Detroit Jesuit 41-14 in a Division 2 regional final.

“When you play a team twice, you have to worry about that second game, especially when you win the first one,” Fracassa said. Rice beat U of D 38-0 earlier this year. “We were just  hoping things would go well. And they sure did.”

With the defense forcing the Cubs into a number of three-and-outs, the Rice offense went to work.

After forcing a punt, Rice took its opening possession and capped it with a 3-yard run from Brian Walker.

Another punt gave way to another score, this time a 45-yard pass from Alex Malzone to Corey Lacanaria.

Malzone tossed two more touchdown passes in the second quarter, one to Patrick Sparks and one to Grant Perry, and Jason Alessi nailed a 30-yard field goal for a 31-0 advantage at the half.

“It was good to get up the way we did,” Fracassa said.  “We were able to get a lot of kids in, and in the playoffs, you usually don’t get a chance to do that.”

Alessi hit a 43-yard field goal in the fourth, and Walker capped the scoring with a 56-yard run late in the game to seal the convincing win.

The offense stole the show, but the defense was just as dominant, picking up six sacks, two interceptions and a fumble.

“Our defense did a real good job,” Fracassa said simply. “They had the late touchdowns at the end, but that’s all right. … You never know why you can play so well against a good team. We knew we’d be in for a battle, so our guys were ready for the challenge.”

Rice (12-0) is set to face Detroit Martin Luther King (10-1) Saturday at 1 p.m. at Wayne State University in a D-2 semifinal. A location has yet to be announced.

The teams met in the 2011 semifinal, which Rice won 27-26.

King’s only loss this year was to Detroit Cass Tech, which is 12-0 and looking for its third staright title in D-1.

“We’ve played some good teams all season long,” Fracassa said. “We’re used to playing good teams, and that’s the advantage we have. If we can maintain momentum, keep the offense going and let the defense do it’s thing, we’ll have a good chance.”