Blogs > Burney's Bites

Burney's Bites will focus primarily on the local preps sports scene, but will also touch on some college and pro athletics, mostly in regards to athletes who hail and have played high school sports in Oakland County. My goal for the blog is to be conversational and anecdotal, a more relaxed and free formal take on high school athletics than you see in regular game day coverage.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monday Morning Quarterback - Sham-Wow!!!

Mad propers go out to the CC Shamrocks, who rocked and then rolled Sterling Heights Stevenson 31-21, on their way to the school's 10th state football championship on Saturday afternoon at Ford Field. The crazy-legged CC backfield of senior FB Niko Palazeti (34 carries, 146 yds 2 TD's) and senior TB Anthony Capatina (20 carries, 189 yds 2 TD's) ran roughshod over Stevenson's defense for over 330 combined yards on the ground and four touchdowns. On the opposite side of the ball, the Shamrocks, lived up to the hype and brought the noise to star Stevenson QB Jason Fracassa and his highly-vaunted offense almost the entire game. CC led 21-3 at halftime and didn't surrender a Fracassa's TD pass until late in the third quarter.  Linebacker Mike Kinville and cornerback Andrew Nelson both came up huge down the stretch for the Shamrocks' "D" (eight shutouts on the season) and each picked off Fracassa passes in the fourth quarter to sew up the title for the Blue and White. The Shamrocks complete the campaign with a perfect 14-0 record and the first state title for the tradition-rich program in six years. CC's "wooden mitten" is the first state championship for the OC since 2005, when Brother Rice brought home the hardware.
Often lost in the hubbub of CC's dominating offensive attack has been the rock-steady play under center of senior quarterback Sam Landry all season long.  Landry is not flashy, but he's a classic game-manager type with a very high gridiron IQ, who made all the plays he had to in order to get his team to the mountain top. In the finals against Stevenson, Landry came through in the clutch again and completed a key 4th down pass play late in the game to keep a CC drive going. After Landry steadied the ship, the 'Rocks pulled in front for what would prove to be an insurmountable two possession lead at 28-14.  Landry probably won't be making any all-state or even all-tournament teams, but make no mistake his leadership and on-field savvy under center is a primary reason CC walked away with the crown on Saturday. The kid's numbers speak for themselves – twice as many touchdowns than interceptions. Congratulations, Sam, on a great senior season!
I've received a lot of feedback from my coverage of OL St. Mary's loss to EGR in the D3 state finals in regards to me commenting on an official's call late in the game. From my point of view, when I saw it  - a tipped pass on 4th and 14 that was caught by Kirk Spencer and kept the Pioneers' game-winning drive alive -and then saw it replayed, I thought I saw it hit the turf prior to going into the EGR receiver's hands. I can fully admit that I could be wrong and I apologize if anyone saw my coverage of the event as taking anything away from the Pioneers titanic comeback effort. There's a reason that EGR has won four straight state titles – it's called intestinal fortitude and the Pioneers have heaps of it. Regardless, Spencer made a great play and showed why you never give up on any play until the whistle has blown. And furthermore, EGR junior QB Ryan Elbe was outstanding all game long and cool as a cucumber on the team's final drive, eventually hitting Deon Jobe for the clinching 15-yard score in the back right of the end zone. I in no way, shape or form intended on diminishing the EGR triumph, but merely wanted to point out the nip-and-tuck nature of the contest as a whole and how one play or one call can turn an entire game around in the blink of an eye.
OLSM sophomore James Ross is a beast. I gave this kid the nickname "Doomsday" a few weeks back for good reason – his presence in the game spells doom for everyone and anyone in his path to the ball. Living up to his nickname, Ross collected a game-high 16 bone-crunching tackles in the Eaglets defeat in the d3 state championship game. Watching Ross brings back memories of former St. Mary's all-stater and current NFL'er David Bowens. With Bowens' old black "number 6" tatted on the front and back of Ross' jersey, it could easily give someone who has had the overwhelming pleasure of seeing both play, déjà vu. I can't wait to see how my main man, "D-Day" finishes off his prep career. And I also feel sorry for all the opposing running backs, qb's, and receivers who he will be lighting up like pinball machines over the next two seasons. His pursuit of the ball is relentless and his sideline-to-sideline aggressiveness and instinctive nature throughout the flow of the game, gives me the heavy suspicion that Ross will end up playing major college football in the fall of 2012.


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