The Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Cranes (5-1) (3-0) defeated the Riverview Gabriel Richard Pioneers (3-3) (1-2) 28-3 in a CHSL Intersectional I matchup on Friday. The win places Cranbrook atop the division and puts them in the driver’s seat for the Prep Bowl.
The win also makes them eligible for the MSHAA state playoffs with 5 victories. One more win will solidify a berth.
On a wet and windy night, the Cranes opened the scoring on a 15-yard TD run by junior RB Aaron Wiggins.
But the tough and ready Pioneers would answer quickly, establishing a drive resulting in a 29-yard FG by senior Zach Loewengruber.
“We knew that Gabriel Richard would be ready. They are always well-prepared and tenacious,” said Cranes Head Coach Joe D’Angelo. “They are always worthy opponents.”
The first quarter would end 7-3 with the Cranes leading.
In the second half, the Cranes were bottled up deep in their own territory. But Wiggins would find daylight, running 81-yards for a touchdown. The Cranes would go into the half with a 14-3 lead.
“Richard has been a good second half team, and they came back on us in last year’s game, so we reminded the boys of that at halftime,” said D’Angelo.
The Pioneers were on the march to score in the second half deep in the Cranes territory. But a fumble recovery by junior DE Chris Smith ended the drive, giving the Cranes the ball.
“Our defense played well tonight”, said D’Angelo. “They stopped a number of key drives.”
Deep once again in their own territory, the Cranes would hand the ball off to Wiggins. This time he found a crease in the Pioneer defense, and scampered 74 yards for another Crane touchdown.
Cranbrook led 21-3 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
Pioneer junior QB Devin Gleason provided a great effort for Riverview, continuing to march the team in the 4th period. But again their drives would fall short, forcing them to punt the ball.
The Cranes ground game continued to find holes in the Richard defense while eating up precious time on the clock. The Cranes would find the end zone one more time, with Wiggins marching in for a 2-yard carry.
The contest would wind up 28-3 at the final bell.
Offensively, junior RB Aaron Wiggins led the Cranes. He would finish the game with 207 yards on 6 carries and 4 touchdowns for the Cranes.
Defensively, junior DE Chris Smith led the way with 8.5 tackles, including a tackle for a loss, and 1 fumble recovery.
Both teams move on to other CHSL pairings next week. The Cranes will face the Allen Park Cabrini Monarchs while the Pioneers will face the Macomb Lutheran North Mustangs.