What Went Wrong: Livonia Churchill falls to Canton in shocking fashion

By: Kyle Mills

Livonia Churchill entered last night’s game against Canton 5-0, but their bid for a perfect season was thwarted by the Chief’s second half comeback.

Heading into halftime, the Chargers were clicking on all cylinders holding a 28-14 lead. But by the time the final seconds ran off of the clock, Churchill headed onto their bus for a solemn ride back down Joy Road after losing 35-40.

Canton's defense capitalized off of turnovers all night

Photo By: PadgetPhotographic

Although they dropped to 5-1, the Chargers still have a chance to win their city championship with huge rivalry games coming up and better position themselves for the playoffs.


With multiple Division 1 recruits on their roster and a team that looked practically unbeatable heading into this game, let’s examine what went wrong.

Turnovers

Although this is an overused statement, “the team that wins the turnover battle usually wins the game,” and that was the case on Friday night.

Churchill’s QB Brian Alsobrooks, an Eastern Michigan commit, was on target with his passes most of the night, finishing with 275 yards and 2 TDs. Although he had a good game, he also threw 2 costly interceptions. Usually sure handed position players WR Dylan Padget and RB Paul Romain lost costly fumbles as well which set the Chiefs up with excellent field position in Churchill territory. The Canton defense was energized by these turnovers and used them as motivation to play even harder since their offense began to capitalize off of them.


Penalties

Long runs, such as this one by Romain, were called

back multiple times during the game.

Photo By: PadgetPhotographic

The penalty situation was curious the entire night for the Chargers. A very disciplined and well-coached team, Churchill was victimized by yellow flags that seemed to constantly be flying. They were penalized a total of 9 times for 70 total yards but those numbers are deceiving. Almost every single time that RB Paul Romain got to the edge, a flag flew. The major penalties came in the 4th quarter and negated a 50 yard kickoff return and a 70 yard run by Romain which would have essentially sealed the game for Churchill.

What is even more puzzling, is the fact that the left side of the offensive line is anchored by Miami (OH) commit LT Matt Skibinski and LG Nick Davis who will play Division 1 football next year as well. The typical statement is that a holding penalty can be called on almost every single play in football, but last night it seemed as though the refs decided to call most of the penalties on Churchill in big situations.

Canton finished with only 2 minor penalties which did not affect their offense at all.


Play Calling

Although the Chargers have a high-powered attack, it is best to mix it up to keep defenses guessing. For most of the game they seemed to have Canton on their toes with Romain running and Alsobrooks spreading the ball around the field. When it came down to critical situations on their last two possessions, it seemed as though Churchill could have called some different plays.

On 3rd down and 1 yard to go on their own 35 yard-line, Churchill needed to put together a drive to run out the clock and win the game by 1-point. Two straight plays in a row, they lined up in a bunch formation and tried to shove it up Canton’s throat. Two plays later, Canton had stopped Romain on dives directly up the middle to get the ball back deep in Churchill territory.

With under 1:30 to go, Churchill had the ball 1st and Goal on the Canton 5-yard line. The first 3 plays were all designed QB rollouts to the left and forced Alsobrooks to stop and throw awkwardly, since he is right handed, three straight incomplete passes. On the last play of the game, Alsobrooks rolled out to his right and was forced to throw into coverage in a crowded end zone.

Looking back, Churchill should have probably at least threatened the pass on the 3rd and short situation while they should have tried to attempt a run on their last possession of the game.


Kick-Offs

QB Brian Alsobrooks also plays kicker and punter for the Chargers and will be doing so at Eastern Michigan next year as well. He has one of the strongest legs in the state and has proved to be a weapon all season long for Churchill.

Last night, he was told several times to kick it short to the 10/15 yard lines to try and catch the Chiefs by surprise. Although it worked once, the other 3 times Canton was able to put together big returns into Churchill territory, which cost the Chargers field position and put their defense in extremely difficult situations.

Even with all of these mistakes, Churchill still had a chance to win the game with 4 plays from the 5-yard line as mentioned before.

Expect Churchill to come out next week and dismantle a 1-5 Livonia Franklin team, especially on homecoming night when emotions will be running high.



Follow me on Twitter at: @generalmills101

Contact me through email at: kyle.mills@cornerstone.edu