The final weekend of the high school football regular season was Friday night which meant one last chance to make an impression before district play next week.
Southfield A&T, the champions of the OAA White, hosted River Rouge.
The Panthers were on the prowl early in this one—two running backs in the backfield. Davion Hill gets the call and answers with a score. River Rouge rolled up 7-0.
But then, Isaiah Marshall took this thing over. The Warriors QB went crazy in this one. Slipping through the defense and sliding into the endzone. That cut the River Rouge lead to one.
Then Marshall found the endzone again in the second half. The game was a close one until the end, but Southfield took the lead with 17 seconds to go. The Warriors hung on for a 28-21 win.
Highlights will air on Local 4 News Friday at 11p.m., Saturday at 6 a.m. and streaming on Local 4+.
4Frenzy’s final Game of the Week for the regular season is matchup between the Southfield Arts and Tech Warriors and River Rouge Panthers taking place at Southfield Arts and Tech.
The home team, Southfield Arts and Tech, enters this game with a 6-2 record following a 42-21 loss against West Bloomfield last week. The Warriors look to rebound from that game with a win against River Rouge. Southfield Arts and Tech Head Coach Aaron Marshall has made adjustments aiming to stop the River Rouge offense.
“River Rouge has had a really good year,” said Marshall. “They look good on film. Coach Pettway is an amazing coach and he has his boys prepared. We adjusted a few players’ positions to fit what we think we need to do to stop their offense.”
The Warrior’s young and inexperienced squad from last year gained experience in a tough OAA-Red league finishing with a 2-6 record. Since switching to the OAA-White at the start of this season, they’ve been more successful and clinched their first division title since 2016 after a 35-12 win against Oak Park. Marshall says that the improvement came from the team buying into a team culture of doing whatever it takes to achieve their goals.
“Our team motto is ‘WIT’ (whatever it takes.) That’s our culture,” said Marshall. “We don’t make excuses, and we approach everyday with the ‘WIT’ mindset, starting in school. My coaching style is very positive and constructive towards the process of achieving our goals. It’s important to me that our young men understand accountability for their actions, and equally important for our coaching staff to understand. We set high expectations, and in order to achieve our goals we must be disciplined. So far, the boys have bought in and been successful on and off the field.”
“We had a tremendous off season,” said Marshall. “The boys were locked in and focused all off season. They have come together as brothers, and they play for each other. Everyone on the team understands what we are about and what we are trying to accomplish. ‘WIT.’”
Southfield Arts and Tech returned their three-star junior quarterback Isaiah Marshall who has several division one offers including Michigan, West Virginia, Mississippi and Louisville. He is back with his band of division one prospect receivers. Tashi Braceful has offers from Cincinnati, Minnesota and Purdue. Jawon Jarrett has offers from Central Michigan and Toledo. Xavier Bowman has offers from Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan. Nigel Dunton has an offer from Massachusetts and junior Donovan Anderson is a proven receiver. The stellar play of Isaiah Marshall and his receivers have helped A&T emerge as one of the state’s most explosive offenses, scoring 43 points per game this season.
“He has been fantastic this year,” said Marshall on Isaiah Marshall’s leadership. “He has always led by example in the past years. But this year he has been more vocal. And his leadership is really contagious throughout the program. The game has slowed down for him.”
The front lines have proven players such as Josiah Williams, Reggie Gardner, Aaron Bradley, Joshua Smith, Nathaniel Green IV, and Xavier Davis returning on the offensive and defensive lines. Southfield Arts and Tech also has James Panagos III, Mauricio Clayton and Joshua Smith at linebacker with Jalen Todd (offers from Michigan, Tennessee and Pittsburgh), Devon Buskins Jr., Javin Jones, Jawon Jarret and Jayden Bush making up the secondary. The defense had a rough start to the season after allowing 56 points to Cass Tech in week one and 62 points against Clarkston in week two. Since then, the defense has gained rhythm as the season progressed.
Now that the Warriors have achieved their goals of winning the division and clinching playoff berth, their eyes are now set on making a run in the playoffs.
“We wanted to win the division and make the playoffs, which we accomplished,” said Marshall. “Now we just want to go 1 and 0 for the remainder of the year.”
In the other corner is the away team, River Rouge, entering this game with a 5-2 record after coming off a tough 19-18 loss against Warren De La Salle last week. The Panthers aim to get back in the win column with a victory over an improved Southfield Arts and Tech team.
The Panthers are in their first season with Eric Pettway at the helm. Pettway became the head coach after Corey Parker stepped away in February to take a job as an assistant coach at University of Toledo. Parker was the coach for 13 years and Pettway was an assistant on the coaching staff for all 13 years and played a major role in River Rouge’s success as a football program. Pettway has a team that is loaded with division one talent on both sides of the ball. The team has plenty of key returners from a 2021 squad that went 7-3 and was ranked among the top teams in the state.
Among those returning players is senior quarterback Christian Johnson. He is back with his favorite target, junior receiver Nick Marsh who recently committed to Michigan State and had offers from most major programs in the country. Marsh is accompanied at receiver by two more juniors in Jaylen Watson and Daniel Rucker. Watson is three-star receiver with several offers, including Cincinnati, Maryland, and West Virginia. On the offensive line, the Panthers have senior Tre’vione Boudreaux, sophomore Jaylen Pitts (offers, including Michigan and Wisconsin), senior Jamar May, sophomore Creg Johnson and senior Kentucky State commit Derek Johnson.
On the defensive line are seniors Richard White and J’Veonne Lee, junior Lamar Moore and sophomore Jordin Farrow who has multiple offers, including West Virginia, Central Michigan and Western Michigan. The Panther linebackers are seniors Armon Garfield and Christen Ward-Lewis along with juniors Leo Garcia and Daivon Hill. Hill has offers from Kentucky, West Virginia and Purdue while Garcia has an offer from Toledo. Seniors Markell Gilford, Javonte Jackson and Lamont Gordon make up the defensive secondary. Gilford has an offer from Bowling Green while Jackson has an offer from Davenport.
This game will be a battle between two programs that have plenty of players who will be playing at the collegiate level. If either team can get the ball into the hands of their talented playmakers, a big play could potentially occur. Whichever team can limit the big plays from their opponent can win this game and carry momentum into the playoffs.
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