Senior RB Murari Nelluri celebrates a rushing TD in the Cranes 42-7 victory over Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard. (Photo - S. Fairman)
The Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Cranes defeated the Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard Fighting Irish in a CHSL AA Division matchup. The 42-7 victory seals a spot in the post season for Cranbrook for the fifth straight year.
The Fighting Irish struck first.
Capitalizing on a turnover, Gabriel Richard scored on a 16-yard sophomore running back Griffen Kaiser scamper. A successful PAT by sophomore kicker Antonio Benedetto gave the Irish a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.
From there, it was all Cranbrook.
Marching down the field on the next series, junior quarterback Jack Fairman hit senior wide receiver Torrell Williams for a 22-yard pass for a TD. Sophomore kicker Chase Paulus converted the PAT to tie the game at 7-7 in the first quarter.
The Cranes put together another drive early in the second quarter, and found pay dirt behind a 13 yard end run by senior running back Murari Nelluri. Another Paulus PAT placed the game at 14-7 at the 10:47 mark.
On the next series, the Cranes defense forced a fumble, which resulted in a 25-yard scoop-and-score by Williams. The Cranes led 21-7 after the big play.
The Fighting Irish could not muster an offensive effort, and turned the ball on downs.
Cranbrook would score twice more before the half, once on a 5-yard run by Nelluri and on a 5-yard pass from Fairman to senior tight end Connor Toomey.
After two more Paulus PAT conversions, the Cranes took a 35-7 lead into halftime.
“We were able to recover from our early setback and settle in to our game plan,” said Cranes Head Coach Scott Steward. “I was proud of the maturity that our team displayed.”
After the half, the Cranes would add to their total on a 12-yard run from junior running back Tariq Muhammad. The successful PAT would set the final score at 42-7.
Fairman finished 8 for16 on 119 yards and 2 TD’s. He would add 13 tackles and a sack on defense.
Nelluri had 14 carries for 60 yards and rushing 2 TD’s. Williams finished with 50 yards receiving with 1 TD pass, a TD on a fumble recovery, and an INT.
Paulus converted 6 PATs for a perfect game.
With this win, Cranbrook now qualifies for the MHSAA State playoffs with 5 wins on the season. A win next week will secure a spot.
“We are excited to look at the playoffs with our first year playing in a new division”, said Steward. “We can now perfect things that we have worked on all season.”