DETROIT — Legendary Brother Rice High School football coach Al Fracassa proved that he still has a trick or two up his sleeve at age 80 with the Warriors' Division 2 high school football state championship win over Muskegon Friday.
After a Muskegon touchdown tied the score at 28 with 2:13 left to play, Brother Rice junior kick returner Jason Alessi received an across-the-field lateral on the ensuing kickoff and ran 91 yards for the game-winning score.
The 35-28 win over Muskegon (12-2) gave Brother Rice (12-2) its first back-to-back state title in Fracassa's 44 years in Bloomfield Hills and the Warriors' eighth title all-time.
"When your back is up against the wall, you try it ... take chances sometimes. I thought the game was never going to end, really," Fracassa joked. "It might have gone fast for you, but I was suffering down there. It's just a wonderful thing ... they're going to remember it forever."
"It's hard to express, winning two state championships in a row."
Fracassa called two trick plays for touchdowns in the final 3:29 to win it. The first, a flea flicker play, came after Muskegon tied the game at 21 with a 14-play, 80-yard drive that kept the Warriors defense on the field over five minutes.
On the second play of the ensuing possession, junior wide receiver Corey Lacanaria ran past an obviously-stumped Big Reds secondary and caught a pass from sophomore quarterback Alex Malzone, (8-10, 167 yards, two touchdowns), who alternated with Cheyne Lacanaria (4-6, 44 yards, one touchdown) for the 77-yard score.
Muskegon didn't give up, having already come back after spotting Brother Rice 14 points in the first half. Junior quarterback Deshaun Thrower (8-of-17, 143 yards, one touchdown), playing in relief of injured senior quarterback Jalen Smith, threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Keondre Craig.
What happened next may go down in Warriors lore as "The Motor City Miracle," having evoked memories of the famous National Football League highlight, "The Music City Miracle."
Sophomore wide receiver Delano Madison took the kick and led the defense to his right before heaving a 30-yard lateral to Alessi, who had a convoy of blockers led by four-star Michigan State recruit Jon Reschke. "I could've walked in," said Alessi, who instead ran the down the sideline and cut midfield in scoring the touchdown.
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