4Frenzy’s fifth Game of the Week is an exciting matchup between two CHSL-Central rivals. It’s a battle between the Brother Rice Warriors and the Detroit Catholic Central Shamrocks taking place at Lawrence Tech University.
Highlights will air on Local 4 News Friday at 11p.m., Saturday at 6 a.m. and streaming on Local 4+.
Both teams have started the season with tough non-league games that challenged them. Brother rice is 2-2 and Catholic Central is 3-1. The Shamrocks lost a close game against Chippewa Valley in week one and since then has won three straight games coming against Davison, Dewitt and University of Detroit Jesuit. All of those teams are dominant in their respective divisions.
“Our schedule has prepared us,” said Catholic Central Head Coach Dan Anderson. “We have played a tough non-league schedule for the purpose of getting us ready for league play. We do not shy away from competition. We are old school in the belief if you want to be the best you have to (beat) play the best. That is what competition is all about, playing the best.”
The Shamrocks are used to playing the best. The CHSL-Central division is arguably the toughest division in the state which includes Catholic Central, Warren De La Salle, St.Mary’s Prep and Brother Rice. With many young players on the roster, the Shamrocks are learning new roles as this team continues to develop over the course of the season.
“We are young and green (Inexperienced) in many positions,” said Anderson. “We lost 29 seniors last year. The first game taught us we need to play a full game, 48 minutes and with our schedule there is no time to rest. We have to work each and every game to play a full 4 quarters of football to the best of our ability. The players have done a very good job growing up. We didn’t have a choice. With the schedule we have they had to grow up. Now we need to as coaches keep moving them forward and honing in the skills to help us make it through the grind of the season. We need to keep stressing the basics, toughness and team.”
Anderson started his regime as head coach in 2017 after longtime Catholic Central Head Coach Tom Mach retired after 41 seasons with the Shamrocks. Anderson has been with Catholic Central since 1999 and in his years there he has taught Social Studies, served as the Dean of Students, helped with the freshman basketball program, and has been involved with the football program in numerous positions, from freshman assistant coach to serving as the defensive coordinator since 2007.
“We have years of experience coaching and playing the game of football,” said Anderson. “I feel I have the best staff in the state. Plus we have men that are trying to build young men of character. Not just X’s and O’s but men that are teaching these young men how to be good husbands, fathers and citizens. This has been a very enjoyable group to coach. A good group that wants to learn and grow, ‘a bunch of sponges.’ You can see them improving each day and week.”
The Shamrocks know what’s at stake in this rivalry matchup. This is for bragging rights over their arch rivals.
“We have to do what we do,” Anderson said. “But we need to be flawless. We cannot make mistakes in big games and we all need to do our jobs, our 1/11th.”
In the other corner, the Brother Rice Warriors come into this game after a rocky start to the season, losing in week one to Dakota and suffering a walk-off field goal loss against East Kentwood in week two. After those losses, the Warriors turned their season around with a 26-0 win over Brownstown Woodhaven and a 43-42 victory over what many believe to be the number one football program in the state, Warren De La Salle last week. With that kind of momentum the Warriors are looking to keep the ball rolling with a victory over longtime rivals, Catholic Central.
“Making them have to go long drives will be really important to us on the other side of the ball,” Brother Rice Head Coach Adam Korzeniewski said.
The Warriors struggled to find their offensive flow in the first two games of the season. Part of those struggles were because they’ve operated without their 3-star Maryland bound running back, Nolan Ray. Ray has missed all action this season due to a knee injury but he is expected to return this week against Catholic Central. In Ray’s absence, backup running back Cashton Papedlis has filled in and quarterback Blake Marrogy has found his rhythm on offense, throwing three TDs to tight-end Henry Garrity and rushing for another last week against Warren De La Salle.
“We were losing big play capabilities with Nolan out,” Korzeniewski said. “Somehow we found it in the passing game against De La Salle.”
Adam Korzeniewski became the head coach for Brother Rice in 2017 making him just the third coach at Brother Rice since 1968. The legendary Al Fracassa was the coach from 1969-2013. Brother Rice carries a tradition of winning largely because of the great success Fracassa was able to achieve in his tenure. Korzeniewski aims to continue the success of his predecessors.
“The culture is way bigger than me. I’m just a part of this process,” Korzeniewski said. “There’s an awful lot of accountability that has been established through the years because of the people that came before me. The success and character of those people have established that responsibility to behave as they did. If you’re a football player here, you know what you’re getting into. We make it really important that they understand that. We talk about what it takes to achieve success. The process of what we do to win games, have a tradition and do it the right way is in place.”
Catholic Central in recent years has gained the upper hand in the rivalry as they’ve defeated Brother Rice seven straight times. That’s the longest streak in the storied rivalry’s history.
A key factor in this game will be the battle in the trenches. The youth and athleticism of Catholic Central’s offensive line versus the experience and physicality of Brother Rice’s defensive front will be one to watch. Winning on the front lines will allow either team to dictate the flow of the game.
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