Birmingham Groves Boys’ Football clear former manager rival Seaholm 3-0
As Mori Miller held an iPhone in his left hand, the eldest waved with his other for his teammates to come up behind him for a celebratory selfie in front of the Birmingham Groves boys’ football team bench on Tuesday night .
“Everybody’s in on this,” the returning All-Stater shouted.
It was definitely a memory the Falcons (4-2-6, 3-0-1) wanted to preserve.
Not only had Groves just made the nearly 2-mile trip down Evergreen Road to defeat rival Birmingham Seaholm, 3-0, and stay in first place in the Oakland Activities Association-White, but he did it against his former coach.
After leading the Falcons for two years, Greg Perkins left them this past offseason to take control of the Maples.
The rivalry match was already heated. Yellow cards were distributed. And the student sections of both schools did not disappoint. It was quite a rowdy environment for the first meeting of the season between Groves and Seaholm.
But the fact that Perkins welcomed his former team stirred up strong emotions among Groves players.
“It was almost impossible to ignore,” said Miller, a captain who scored twice. “I completely respect Greg. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. I love him as a person. I don’t think he should have gone to Seaholm, but he went and he saw his mistake (tonight).
“We keep texting each other all the time and checking each other’s seasons. I have a great relationship with him. But tonight we had to put that aside and focus on the game.”
Miller actually played on Perkins’ travel squad before this fall.
And many other Falcons have fond memories of playing for him.
But they wanted their revenge.
“It’s a rivalry game, so it’s going to be more emotional, but we have to control those emotions and stick to the game plan,” Groves first-year coach Paul Thomas said. “For the players it certainly made a lot more sense tonight, but I think from an overall program perspective and as staff we tried to keep them focused on the game and take some of that away from it. emotion.”
Both teams drew 0-0 in the first half.
At half-time, Thomas made an adjustment in attack for his forwards to use the inside space between Seaholm’s outside and centre-backs.
Just 4 minutes into the second half, senior Mario Blum-Alexander got that inside positioning, picked up a through ball from outside and nailed a line to the right post for the winning goal.
Miller provided some reassurance by burying a penalty towards the right side of the net in the 34th minute.
He added the exclamation point to the breakaway win about 9 minutes later. He received a one-line pass along the near sideline. Then he fired an opposite-footed shot just over the goalkeeper’s head from nearly 20 yards out, handing Seaholm (5-1-2, 2-1) and his new coach their first loss.
“We put an almost perfect product on the pitch with no (allowed) goals,” Miller said. “I’m really proud of how we were able to control the game and hold our heads up high.”
Seaholm’s post-game chat with Perkins lasted over 20 minutes. Perkins briefly consoled three players who were visibly distraught afterwards. One of them was crying.
When asked to be interviewed for this story, Perkins replied, “Not at the moment. I have plenty to do.” Then he made his way to the Maples bench while forgoing the request to talk about facing his former team.
On the other side of the field, Miller hugged Thomas.
Brandon Folsom covers high school sports in metro Detroit for Hometown Life. Follow him on Twitter @folsombrandonj.