The Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Cranes (7-3) lost their opening MHSAA playoff pairing to the Country Day Yellowjackets (10-0) 35-7. This loss moves the Cranes to 7-3 and concludes their 2016 season.
This game started off as a great defensive struggle as neither team scored in the first 2 periods.
Senior RB Jalen Allen led the offensive attack for the Cranes in the first half, earning tough yardage against a stingy Yellowjacket defense. But Country Day would hold fast, and kept Cranbrook from reaching the scoreboard.
Senior QB Steve Mann ran the Yellowjacket offense well in the first half, rushing and passing to keep Country Day moving. But the Cranes defense remained resolute, forcing 3 turnovers on downs from the Yellowjackets.
“We played our hearts out on defense in that game, our boys knew they could physically hang with Country Day, and they showed it,” said Coach Joe D’Angelo. “We were excited and highly motivated.”
As the game stood scoreless at the half, there was a sense of an unexpected, tough-nosed battle. Many were surprised and anxious.
Then came the third quarter.
Country Day put up 21 points in the period. A 5-yard TD run by senior Chris Bergen, an 11-yard Mann TD pass to RB junior Alex McKeen and an interception returned for a TD by junior LB Kolin Demens turned the tide against Cranbrook.
Rolling into the fourth quarter, the Cranes would strike back. Senior RB AJ Rodriguez took a pitch from Cranes senior QB Tyler Santangelo. Dropping back, he found senior WR Daniel Russell all alone behind the defense, and completed an 80-yard pass play for a TD.
But the Yellowjackets would add another 14 points, a rushing TD by RB Demens and an interception returned for TD by senior LB Adam Fakih would conclude the scoring.
“I’ve always said, that first playoff victory is the toughest to get,” Country Day coach Dan MacLean told C & G News after the game. “But give credit to Cranbrook. They came ready to play.”
Cranbrook finished the day with 129 yards of offense. QB Tyler Santangelo was 4 of 12 for 27 yards; RB Jalen Allen was 15 for 21 yards. WR Daniel Russell led the receiving with 80 yards and 1 TD.
Defensively, junior DE Chris Smith led the team with 11 solo tackles. Senior DE Garrett Faulkner had 3 batted down passes and 1 sack.
With this victory, Country Day moves on to face Marysville (10-0) in the next round of the MHSAA playoffs.