Future UM-MSU rivals, Theo Day and Aidan Hutchinson lead Dearborn Divine Child's playoff run
Day joining the Spartans next year; Hutchinson set to play for Wolverines
It’s Friday night, mid-October. Dearborn Divine Child’s high school football team faces a second down from the 10-yard line.
Theo Day scrambles to his right, and he spots Aidan Hutchinson breaking open in the end zone.
Day throws a tight spiral, and Hutchinson hauls in the pass to give their squad an early lead.
A year in the future, the two will be rivals -- Day a member of the Michigan State Spartans, Hutchinson a Michigan Wolverine.
For now, though, the two are teammates on Divine Child, and their play has helped the Falcons reach new heights.
“Me and Theo have a great connection,” Hutchinson said. “I think it really showed right there. Theo scrambled, and I kind of drifted toward the end zone. He threw a great ball.”
Thanks in part to the play of Day and Hutchinson -- including that first-quarter touchdown pass against Detroit Loyola last week -- Divine Child has won the Catholic League AA Division championship.
The Falcons are also 7-1 for the first time since 2001, according to michigan-football.com.
“I would not be a very good high school coach if I didn’t say those kids are Falcons first,” Divine Child coach John Filiatraut said. “Where they’re going down the road, I think they’ve done a good job of putting that off and focusing on their game, their individual games and leading our team. They’ve been great.”
Hutchinson has made an impact on both sides of the ball.
As a tight end on offense, he has caught 24 passes for 252 yards and five touchdowns. At defensive end, Hutchinson has registered 25.5 tackles, including 8.5 for a loss.
He’s made game-changing plays. On one against Detroit Loyola, he stripped the ball from a running back and then recovered the fumble to set up good field position for the Falcons.
“He’s just been so good,” Filiatraut said. “You turn the film on, and he makes some pretty impossible plays. He just goes so hard, he’s so difficult to block. He’s big and strong. It’s not a big surprise he’s going to Michigan.”
Similarly, Day has played a big role in Divine Child’s success.
He has completed 77 of 139 passes for 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also has rushed for 486 yards and a team-high eight TDs.
“I think there are always things you can get better at,” Day said. “I’ve played good at times and then at times I haven’t been my best. For the playoffs, I’ve got to zone in and play really well.”
Day also showed an ability to improvise against Loyola, eluding pressure and connecting with receivers for big plays when he had to leave the pocket.
“Theo’s a football player,” Filiatraut said. “If Theo wasn’t a quarterback, Theo would be a safety or a wideout or a tight end. He is a football player.
“For us to sit back there and ask him to be Tom Brady or something, that may come with experience for him, but he’s just not going to sit back there and unload it,” Filiatraut said. “When he feels pressure, he reacts to it. We try not to get in his way.”
It’s proved successful. Next season, Day will head to East Lansing, where he said he likes the “family atmosphere” at Michigan State.
“Coach Dantonio and those guys, they’ve been around for so long,” Day said. “They know what they’re doing, they know how to win.”
Hutchinson also said he found a good fit at Ann Arbor.
There’s a natural connection - Aidan’s father, Chris, was an All-American defensive lineman with the Wolverines in 1992.
Aidan also bonded with U-M’s coaches, including assistant defensive line coach Greg Mattison, who also coached Chris with the Wolverines.
“I love the atmosphere there,” Hutchinson said. “I love the campus. I love everything about it. Obviously I’m a legacy so that was also a big factor in my recruitment.”
Hutchinson and Day said they talk about their future schools often. On Friday, Day teased Hutchinson about the Spartans’ recent victory over the Wolverines. Hutchinson just laughed it off.
“It’s funny,” Hutchinson said. “I always talk about sacking him in three years, we’re at the Big House and it’s fourth down. We talk about it all the time.”
“Those guys are good guys,” Filiatraut said. “They live in the same neighborhood. They’re good friends. And they both made good college decisions so I don’t think there are any hard feelings there.”
In the end, they are Falcons first. That’s why they’re making plays like the one Friday, making something from nothing and helping Divine Child to another win.
“It was a route that was designed to go to Aidan at first,” Day said. “It just broke down. I didn’t see him open, I saw some guys coming in. I scrambled right, and then Aidan came across the front of the end zone. I saw him, and I knew I could trust him to catch it.”
Together, Day, Hutchinson and the rest of the Falcons still have one more regular season game to play. Divine Child will take on Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard on Saturday at Ford Field.
Then it’s on to the playoffs.
“Everything’s looking bright for our future,” Hutchinson said.
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