Ann Arbor Pioneer aims to shutdown future Michigan QB Shane Morris in AnnArbor.com Game of the Week
The people have spoken. When Warren De La Salle plays the Pioneer High School football team at Hollway Field on Friday night, it will be the AnnArbor.com High School Game of the Week.
The vote was close for roughly five minutes and then - my theory is - people realized Warren De La Salle is where Michigan football quarterback commit and five-star recruit Shane Morris plays and the rest took care of itself.
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
The Ypsilanti vs. Milan matchup was a distant second with 226 votes (22.1 percent), Chelsea vs. Jackson Lumen Christi had 179 (17.5 percent) and Skyline vs. Hartland had 94 (9.2 percent) votes. Seven votes came in from five countries outside of the United States and even among German, Australian, Indian, Namibian and Canadian voters, Pioneer vs. De La Salle was the most popular game.
And if I know one thing about Germans, Australians, Indians, Namibians and Canadians -- and I think I do -- it’s that they know their stuff when it comes to high school football.
But enough about the vote, let’s talk about the game. Of late, Pioneer is on fans’ radar because of a player currently suiting up for Michigan, Drake Johnson, while Warren De La Salle is on the radar because of a player that will suit up for the Wolverines next year: Morris.
News flash: one departed and one returning player do not a team make.
De La Salle beat Pioneer 43-28 last year and the 43 points was the second most points the Pioneers gave up all season.
So Morris got the best of them, right?
Not quite. Morris was efficient (14 of 18, 224 yards, 1 TD), but the Pioneers got the best of themselves. Pioneer gave up a safety, a fumble return for a touchdown and sent a snap over the punter’s head to give De La Salle possession at the 8-yard line all in the first half.
“Their offense is very, very good but most of their scores were mistakes on the part of our offense last year,” Pioneer coach Paul Test said. “We had two bad snaps, put the ball on the ground a couple times and had an interception. I don’t care how good you are, you’re not going to beat anybody doing that.”
Test doesn’t have illusions that his defense will completely shutdown Morris, but thinks his secondary is up to the challenge of containing the Pilots’ offense.
“(Morris) is going to hit some plays, we’re not going to shut him down completely, but we need do our best to contain him,” Test said. “We’re working hard on giving him a lot of different coverage looks and not giving up the cheap one, the home run.”
Having senior cornerbacks Dewan Olive and Dan Eder and senior safety Henry Winters in the defensive backfield - where Pioneer had no experience to start the year last season - should help those efforts.
“Our defensive secondary was all new (last year),” Test said. “They’re going to be better this year.”