Fracassa guides Brother Rice past Muskegon for state title in final game

DETROIT (AP) - Al Fracassa is going out on top.

The coaching legend ended his 57-year career Friday with another Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 state championship, as Birmingham Brother Rice defeated Muskegon, 38-21.

It is the third consecutive championship for the Warriors and Fracassa's ninth as coach.

"I wish I was young enough to coach some more," said Fracassa, 81, whose career record is 430-117-7. "When you love something so much, it's hard to leave."

Junior quarterback Alex Malzone had a hand in all five touchdowns. He completed 20-of-24 passes for 263 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another.

"They blitzed a lot, and our offensive line picked them up," Malzone said. "Obviously, our receivers made some great plays."

The Warriors finished 14-0, their first undefeated season since 1983. The game was a rematch of the 2012 D-2 state title game.

"I'm going to have to go back and re-evaluate what we're doing in the championship games," Big Reds coach Shane Fairfield said. "It must be something that I'm doing wrong in preparing for these championship games."

Muskegon quarterback Deshaun Thrower had 22 carries for 128 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 183 yards and a touchdown.

Malzone's 18-yard TD pass to Grant Perry with 1:07 remaining in the first half broke a tie and gave Brother Rice the lead for good, 21-14. Perry also caught another touchdown pass among his five catch, 91-yard day.

The Warriors broke the game open with 10 points in less than a minute early in the fourth quarter to take a 31-14 lead.

Jason Alessi kicked a 36-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth. After the kickoff, Thrower fumbled on a third-and-6 play and Brother Rice's Shaun Jones Jr. recovered at Muskegon's 21-yard-line.

Malzone then hit Corey Lacanaria for a 21-yard touchdown pass on the next play.

Click on the video player to watch Brad Galli's one-on-one interview with Al Fracassa.

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