Late field goal helps Plymouth upset Detroit Catholic Central, 9-7, in a high school football playoff Division 1 quarterfinal
Jake Thielen | MLive.com, November 13, 2010 6:39 p.m.
Kyle Brindza’s 23-yard field goal with 35 seconds left in the fourth quarter was the difference in the game as Plymouth High School defeated Detroit Catholic Central, 9-7, in a Division 1 high school football quarterfinal on Saturday afternoon.
Following Brindza’s third field goal of the game, Detroit Catholic Central drove the length of the field for a shot at a winning field goal of its own.
The Shamrocks used a hook-and-ladder play to get the ball into Plymouth territory, but a pass that would have given Detroit Catholic Central the ball inside the Plymouth 10-yard line was negated by a holding call.
Justin D’Agostino’s 58-yard field goal attempt as time expired fell short of the goal line.
Plymouth will move on to the semifinals to face Rockford High School, which defeated Howell 31-27 on Saturday afternoon. The game will take place Nov. 20, with the time and location to be determined.
Plymouth had taken an early lead on a 51-yard field goal by Brindza, but the Wildcats trailed Detroit Catholic Central, 7-3, going into the fourth quarter.
Brindza’s second field goal, a 49-yard attempt with 8:05 remaining in the game, pulled the Wildcats within one point.
The Plymouth defense forced Detroit Catholic Central to go three-and-out on its next possession. The Wildcats got the ball back at the Catholic Central 38-yard line with 6:40 left, setting up the game-winning drive.
Thanks to key plays from running back Jerel Jenkins and quarterback Shaun Austin, Plymouth took more than six minutes off the clock on the drive, forcing Catholic Central to use the rest of its timeouts.
Plymouth coach Mike Sawchuk said he was pleased with the efforts of both players.
“(Austin) is a pretty composed kid for a junior,” Sawchuk said. “Our offensive coaching staff does a great job with him.”
Austin had 71 yards on 10-of-20 passing, including a 10-yard completion to Jacob Morris on the final drive that gave the Wildcats a key first down.
Jenkins rushed for 102 yards on 25 carries. His 12-yard run to the Catholic Central 6-yard line set up Brindza’s game-winner.
Brindza, who has already accepted a scholarship to Notre Dame, said the kick was from a difficult angle, but he knew he could make it.
“I was just trying to stay relaxed and keep composure, and just go out and kick it,” Brindza said.”I’ve kicked two game-winning field goals before so it’s nothing new. But coming for the regional championship, it just feels amazing right now.”
Sawchuk said Brindza was valuable to the team, not only for his ability to make field goals, but also for his ability to get touchbacks on kickoffs and make the opposing team drive 80 yards for a score.
He said Brindza’s range is “anywhere from 50 to 55 yards out.”
“In high school, if you miss it the ball goes to the 20,” Sawchuk said. “Why not take a shot?”
Shawchuk was also impressed with the fact that his team limited Detroit Catholic Central’s potent offense to just seven points.
Sawchuk said his team watched five games worth of film to prepare for the Shamrocks’ running attack, and he was pleased with how the defense executed its game plan.
“It’s because one, they got a lot of speed and two, they’re very coachable,” Sawchuk said. “They do what they’re supposed to do.”
Catholic Central coach Tom Mach said inconsistency and penalties hurt the Shamrocks.
“I thought we moved the ball well at times, and then penalties would hurt us,” Mach said. “In that situation, 15-yard penalties hurt your drive and then you have to go to other things.”
Mach said he was pleased with the way his team kept fighting at the end of the game.
“It shows great heart with that amount of time on the clock, we moved it right down to where we could actually get a chance to kick a field goal and win the game.
“I was real proud of our kids, and I congratulate Plymouth for doing a great job. They played a very good football game.”
Despite the loss, Mach said he was happy with the way the season went.
“They’re a great, great bunch of kids to coach, and they tough it out right to the end,” Mach said. “It’s always hard to lose, but I think I was really happy with the way they conducted themselves all year long.”