Clarkston High School football withstands late rally to defeat West Bloomfield, 10-3
Jake Thielen | MLive.com, September 04, 2010
On a night when Clarkston’s offense struggled to take advantage of favorable field position, it was the defense that stepped up its game when it mattered the most.
Trailing by seven points with 2:41 to go in the fourth quarter, West Bloomfield needed to travel 87 yards for a potential game-tying touchdown.
Their comeback attempt fell just short, as Clarkston’s Ty Foltz intercepted a pass by West Bloomfield quarterback Phil Brown at the Clarkston 4-yard line with just 25 seconds left in the game to secure a 10-3 victory in the Oakland Activities Association football matchup.
The interception was just one of several key plays by Clarkston’s defense in the fourth quarter, as linebackers Sean Calvano and Evan Montgomery each had key sacks to end promising West Bloomfield drives.
The win improved Clarkston’s record to 1-1 overall and 1-1 in Oakland Activities Association league play. West Bloomfield dropped to 0-2 on the season, and 0-2 in OAA league play.
Clarkston head coach Kurt Richardson was impressed with his team’s play on defense.
“Sometimes you have to win those games on defense,” Richardson said. “We were getting pretty good pressure on them. I think our linebackers stepped up.”
Richardson was more critical of his team’s offense.
“We won ugly, but we won,” Richardson said. “We made way too many mistakes. You can’t fumble the ball on the 4-yard line. You can’t get bad snaps.
“We should have had 21, 28 points on the board and we self-destructed. That can’t happen.”
Clarkston’s only touchdown came after a special teams miscue by West Bloomfield in the second quarter.
Facing a fourth down deep in its own zone, West Bloomfield lined up to punt. The ball was snapped over punter Adam Buckner’s head. Instead of picking up the ball, Buckner kicked it through the back of his own end zone.
Buckner was called for a personal foul penalty, which resulted in a loss of down, and Clarkston was given posession at the West Bloomfield 4-yard line.
After a 1-yard loss on a running play, Clarkston quarterback Mitch Baenziger connected with receiver Chris Canada for a 5-yard touchdown pass.
Baenziger’s only two other competions went for negative yardage. He completed three of his five attempts for 3 yards, with one touchdown and one interception before leaving the game in the third quarter with a hip injury. His status for next week is unknown.
Clarkston kicker Alex Barta provided the team’s only other score, converting a 31-yard attempt in the third quarter.
West Bloomfield had some success moving the ball offensively, but the team was unable to convert opportunities into touchdowns. The Lakers’ only points came on a 33-yard field goal by Buckner just before halftime.
Brown completed 15 passes, on 25 attempts, for 164 yards, 67 of which came on the team’s final drive.
Wide receiver Aryn Curtis caught a team-high nine passes for 116 yards.
West Bloomfield head coach Ronald Bellamy, a former wide receiver for the University of Michigan and the Detroit Lions, was impressed with his team’s play.
“I’m impressed with team’s effort and courage throughout,” Bellamy said. “You couldn’t ask for more effort from my guys. We got down early, and they fought.
“My defense fought their butts off the entire game. I couldn’t ask for any more from my defense.”
Bellamy said that he was impressed with his offense, despite only scoring three points.
“Offensively, we didn’t score many points, but we moved the ball,” Bellamy said. “We’ll correct it. We’re a young team – young team, new coach. This is the type of game that we prepare for. We prepare for dogfights.”
Bellamy said that he remained confident that his team is headed in the right direction.
“In a year or two, we’ll be winning these games,” Bellamy said. “We’ll be one of the top teams in the OAA. I told my guys after the game we’re building a program, we’re building a foundation, and this is how it’s going to be done.”