The Pilots (3-4) got back to basics Friday night, with solid defensive play and a steady dose of the ground and pound, and soared past the Roseville Panthers, 58-14, in the first round of the 2020 MHSAA state playoffs.
De La Salle head man Dan Rohn had high praise for his team's performance Friday night.
“There is no secret it’s been a tough season to this point. But, I thought we played real hard tonight,” Rohn said. “This was by far our best week of practice leading up to today. And now to be able to have some fun (and) get a lot of guys on the field, we can certainly build on this.”
Scoring started early, and continued often, as the Pilots tallied 17 points in the opening frame.
Junior Will Beesley scored two of his three total touchdowns with 9:24 and 1:16, respectively, to play in the first quarter.
Junior Brady Lowe also connected on a 43-yard field goal in the quarter to create the 17-0 lead.
The Pilots' offense didn't take its foot off the gas pedal, either.
Senior Brett Stanley added two second-quarter touchdown runs, including a 56-yard carry with just over 1:00 to play before halftime.
And Beesley leaped into the end zone for his third score, to give the Pilots a 37-0 halftime advantage.
“We know Beesley is one of the best football players when he steps on the field,” Rohn said. “We just continue to let him grow and take on more responsibility. We are going to lean on him heavily this time of year.”
Freshman Rhett Roeser made a statement run for the Pilots in the third quarter, as he found space and scored on a 65-yard scamper.
Juniors Devin Schmelter and Seth Ray both would add touchdown runs in the fourth quarter for the Pilots.
Senior JC Ford and sophomore Brady Drogosh continue to split time at the quarterback position.
Tonight, Ford saw increased snaps under center, relative to the past few weeks.
“It takes a little pressure off the sophomore (Drogosh),” Rohn commented. “We felt, depending on field position, JC could grind out some runs and make some key plays for us.”
The Pilots will now play St. Clair Shores Lakeview in the District 16 semifinal round next week (time TBD).