Hornets scrape playoff victory over Brother Rice

Senior+Ethan+Livingston+%28No.+13%29+swoops+in+to+tackle+a+Brother+Rice+ball+carrier+in+an+MHSAA+Division+3+pre-district+football+game+Friday%2C+Nov.+1%2C+at+C.K.+Richards+Field.
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Hornets scrape playoff victory over Brother Rice

Senior Ethan Livingston (No. 13) swoops in to tackle a Brother Rice ball carrier in an MHSAA Division 3 pre-district football game Friday, Nov. 1, at C.K. Richards Field.

Senior Ethan Livingston (No. 13) swoops in to tackle a Brother Rice ball carrier in an MHSAA Division 3 pre-district football game Friday, Nov. 1, at C.K. Richards Field.

IMAGE / Mackenzie Atkinson

Senior Ethan Livingston (No. 13) swoops in to tackle a Brother Rice ball carrier in an MHSAA Division 3 pre-district football game Friday, Nov. 1, at C.K. Richards Field.

IMAGE / Mackenzie Atkinson

IMAGE / Mackenzie Atkinson

Senior Ethan Livingston (No. 13) swoops in to tackle a Brother Rice ball carrier in an MHSAA Division 3 pre-district football game Friday, Nov. 1, at C.K. Richards Field.

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Eking out its first playoff victory in 21 years on a muddy, soupy field, the football team beat Brother Rice 20-19 Friday, Nov. 1, in an MHSAA Division 3 pre-district game after the Warriors’ kicker missed a game-tying extra point kick.

Junior Conner Cooper caught the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter. When he caught the ball on a fourth-down play, he focused on scoring.

“When I caught the ball it was all silent,” Cooper said. “All there was was me and the end zone.”

The Hornets will visit Saint Mary’s Preparatory High School in Orchard Lake to play an MHSAA Division 3 district game Saturday, Nov. 9, at 1 p.m.

Cooper and the team will look to play an exciting game against the Eaglets.

“We are all staying focused on our jobs and making sure we go out there and have fun,” Cooper said, “because like our coaches always say, ‘we play better when we’re having fun.'”

The game against Brother Rice proved to be an interesting affair. The Warriors played their first game off of artificial turf at the Hornets’ C.K. Richards Field.

Nasty weather and a week of practices made the field muddy and pockmarked.

Opening the scoring with 4:32 left in the first quarter, junior quarterback Braylon Silvas connected with senior wide receiver Ethan Livingston for a 34-yard passing touchdown. Livingston nailed the extra point kick and the Hornets held an early 7-0 advantage.

After punting the ball away toward the end of the first quarter, the Hornets pinned the Warriors on their own 3-yard line. The Hornets stood tall on defense to force a three-and-out, taking possession of the ball on the Warriors 34-yard line.

Coach Kaleb Forr called for a trick play on the Hornets’ first play: an option flea flicker that ended with Silvas passing another 34-yard touchdown to Livingston with 10:52 left in the half.

Livingston missed the extra point and the Hornets led 13-0.

IMAGE / Mackenzie Atkinson
Senior Jaylon Burchfield (right) makes a clutch tackle on a Brother Rice punt returner in the Hornets’ 20-19 victory over the Warriors Friday, Nov. 1 at C.K. Richards Field.

Later in the half, the Hornets punted to the Warriors, whose returner cut across the field and would have gone all the way if senior Jaylon Burchfield hadn’t made a clutch open-field tackle.

Three plays later, the Warriors cut their deficit by scoring a 59-yard passing touchdown. A good extra point put the Warriors within six points of the Hornets.

The Hornets buzzed at the end of the half but came four yards shy of a touchdown as time expired in the first half.

The Warriors opened the second half with an electric offense, capping off a 10-play drive with an 11-yard rushing touchdown to tie the game up with 8:19 left in the third quarter. They missed the extra point kick.

After defensive stops by both teams, the Warriors put together a 19-play drive but failed to convert on fourth down as Silvas broke up the pass.

The Warriors forced the Hornets to punt with 5:05 left in the game but the ball hit the helmet of a Brother Rice player. After scrambling for the ball, Cooper fell on it and the Hornets kept their drive alive.

The Warriors defense stood up to the Hornets and forced fourth down. Cooper came up big for his team by making a clutch reception and running into the end zone for the 23-yard, game-winning score.

Livingston made a big extra point kick to put Kearsley up 20-13 with 2:54 left in the game.

It took 10 plays for the Warriors to answer with a 9-yard touchdown run. Forr iced the Brother Rice kicker with a timeout and he missed the extra point.

IMAGE / Mackenzie Atkinson
Junior Braylon Silvas runs the ball downfield against Brother Rice in an MHSAA Division 3 pre-district game Friday, Nov. 1.

The Hornets led 20-19 with 29 seconds left in the game.

After the Hornets recovered the kickoff deep in their own territory, a Brother Rice player took an untimely unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after shoving down a Hornets player.

The penalty gave the Hornets ample room to take the victory formation and end the game victorious.

Silvas went 13-for-19 and accumulated 197 yards. He threw all three touchdown passes.

Livingston made two touchdown receptions and earned 99 yards.

On defense, senior John Brown led with seven solo tackles and three assists. He made one sack in the game.

Cooper made four solo tackles and assisted on two more.

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