Longtime rivals clashed on the grill on Friday night as Dearborn High welcomed foe from Crosstown Fordson. The two teams have won back-to-back games and are among the state’s top Division 1 programs this year.
Fordson at Dearborn High Football Photo Gallery
In what was a defensive struggle, the host Pioneers survived a 13-10 scuffle with the visiting Tractors.
Friday was the 44th all-time reunion between the two schools; they’ve met at least once a year since 1997. Dearborn’s (6-2, 5-2 KLAA East) victory ended a four-game losing streak against Fordson (6-2, 5-2 KLAA East).
“We said our chance to win this game was to make everyone believe we can,” said Pioneers coach Alex Grignon. “It’s not hoping or wishing for it to happen, it’s believing that we can do it. We had a great week of training and our kids played a lot for us.
Dearborn scored all 13 points before halftime. The hosts lagged midway through the first quarter after Fordson’s Hadi Saad punched a 25-yard basket to give the Tractors a 3-0 lead. The scoring campaign came after the visitors knocked out Pioneers quarterback Ali Murray in the opening campaign.
But Dearborn responded just over a minute later with a big 62-yard catch-and-run from Murray to Noah Dobert on the sidelines. That made it a 7-3 game in favor of the Pioneers.
Both teams each had a giveaway in more territory in the first half. Fordson knocked him down on the downs at Dearborn 31 with just over a minute to go in the first quarter. In the middle of the second, the Pioneers groped just inside the Fordson 30 and it was picked up by the Tractors.
Dearborn was able to get on the board again just before half-time. Murray got the home team on the pitch and finished the race with a touchdown pass to Adam Rammouni 10 yards with less than a minute on the clock. The PAT was missed and the Pioneers took a 13-3 lead.
In the second half, Fordson limited Dearborn’s offense to just two possessions, one of which resulted in a stuck 43-yard field goal try.
After the blocked kick, the Tractors had their only touchdown practice of the game. Practice ended when quarterback Alex Osman found Mohammed Sayed open eight yards in the dying minute of the third quarter and reduced Fordson’s deficit to 13-10.
The Tractors had one last breath in the dying minutes of the game. The team managed to get into position for a potential 42-yard tie-up field goal, but the kick was short and a little wide to the left.
Overall, Friday marked just the Pioneers’ third victory in their last 15 tries against the Tractors and only their 13th overall in 44 games.
“All our kids have heard in the last 10 years is how sweet they are and how good (Fordson) is,” said Grignon. “We’ve heard that this may be their best Fordson team ever. Well, now no one can claim that our guys are part of one of the best Dearborn High teams ever.
Prior to this week, Fordson had the eighth most playoff points (68.857) in D1 while the Pioneers (59.286) were 22nd on the list. The top 32 scorers from each of the eight divisions advance to the playoffs.
Following Friday’s result, the Tractors fell to 17th in playoff points (66.250) and Dearborn (66.125) fell to 18th.
That said, the Pioneers and Fordsons could meet again in the playoffs, which begin on Friday, October 29. The two teams last met in the playoffs in 2012 and the Pioneers claimed a 24-14 victory in that competition.
Elsewhere in the KLAA East on Friday, Belleville claimed a 53-29 victory over Livonia Franklin while Livonia Churchill was knocked down by rival Livonia Stevenson, 13-6. And Westland John Glenn also beat Wayne Memorial, 22-14.
Churchill and Fordson’s losses on Friday saw Belleville win the KLAA East Championship. Plus, it left the Pioneers, Tractors and Chargers tied at three for second place.
Here is an overview of the final standings of KLAA East (* indicates a head-to-head tie-breaker):
1. Belleville (7-1, 6-1 KLAA East)
T2. Churchill (6-2, 5-2)
T2. Cherborn (6-2, 5-2)
T2. Fordson (6-2, 5-2)
5. Franklin (3-5, 3-4) *
6. Stevenson (4-4, 3-4)
7. John Glenn (1-7, 1-6)
8. Memorial (0-8, 0-7)
Next week, cross-matches in the KLAA with teams from the East division will welcome their counterparts from the West division according to the standings (1st against 1st, 2nd against 2nd, etc.). So, Dearborn and Fordson will be home for the regular season finale on October 22.
Times and matches are still to be determined.