The Pioneers defeated the Thunderbirds 48-0 in a city rivalry matchup Friday night at Edsel Ford High School.
The Pioneers, who are 4-0 so far this season, have also obtained the Thunderbird-Pioneer Spirit Bowl for the second year in a row. This fairly new trophy tradition is awarded each year to the winner of the Edsel Ford and Dearborn High matchup.
Dearborn High’s offense began the game passing the ball and moving the chains, which eventually led to the success of the outcome, according to Pioneers head coach Dave Mifsud.
“We respected their defensive line and thought they were tough,” Mifsud said. “We thought we could help loosen up the running game a little bit and free it by establishing the passing early and we wanted to keep them off balance a little bit, so we came out throwing and things worked out pretty well for us.”
Dearborn High scored the first two touchdowns just over three minutes apart in the first quarter. Running back Ali Hammoud scored first from a 50-yard hand off, and senior Keshawn Walker followed shortly after with a 72-yard touchdown that put the Pioneers up 13-0.
Early in the second half, after a 15-yard face-mask penalty against the Thunderbirds, quarterback Ollie Ajami hit wide receiver Ryan Hansen on an inside slant that was good for a 20-yard gain. This play would set up the 6-yard run by Walker to triple the lead.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Walker, who tallied 18 of the 48 points with three touchdowns. “My team–they had my back. We had heart and I love our team and I love to be a Dearborn Pioneer all day.”
The Pioneers continued to dominate the second half with three more unanswered touchdowns. Hammoud came in just behind Walker with two touchdowns under his belt.
“It’s definitely trial by fire,” said Edsel Ford head coach Mark Tyler. “Dearborn’s a very good team. They came after us and we did respond like we were a young team.”
“We kind of got back on our heels and started to doubt ourselves and that’s the biggest thing about young players–you’ve got to get them to believe in themselves and each other and it’ll work out; it will get better.”
The Thunderbirds plan to make a comeback against Romulus High School next Friday. It's a homecoming game for hosts Romulus, and Edsel Ford hopes to take them down on their own turf.
"Let's make sure it's a sad dance," Tyler told his team Friday night in reference to their homecoming dance.
The Pioneers will prepare to play their other crosstown rivals, , at home on Friday.