Lake Orion wins OAA Red Division high school football title with 28-7 victory over Clarkston
Jake Thielen | MLive.com, October 23, 2010 12:39 a.m.
Marques Stevenson rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns to lead Lake Orion High School past Clarkston High School, 28-7, in a game that decided the Oakland Activities Association Red Division football championship on Friday night.
Stevenson said it felt great to win the Red Division championship.
“We haven’t been Red Division champs since 2008 when I was a sophomore, so it feels good to be back here,” Stevenson said. “This is what we’ve wanted all year.
“Right now I’m soaking it all in, but we got a lot of work to do.”
Both teams came into the game ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press high school football Division 1 poll with identical records of 7-1 overall and 6-0 in the OAA Red Division.
Lake Orion, ranked sixth in the poll, was coming off its first loss of the season, a 28-6 loss to Farmington Hills Harrison on Oct. 16. Clarkston came into the game ranked ninth in the poll.
“Last week, a lot of things got exposed offensively that we could improve upon, and all week we just worked on those technical things and it showed today,” Stevenson said. “To shut us down two weeks in a row is real tough.
“The offensive line played great in the second half especially, just kind of creating holes, and they couldn’t stop us.”
Lake Orion coach Chris Bell was impressed with how his team dealt with the loss to Harrison.
“We knew we didn’t play well last week, and we knew that wasn’t us,” Bell said. “It was a great learning experience, and I’m very proud of the way they responded.”
Lake Orion quarterback Sean Charette had 86 yards on 6-of-9 passing, including a 30-yard touchdown pass to Danny Ney, and Demetri Hudson added a 5-yard rushing touchdown in the win for the Dragons.
Bell said he was proud of the way Charette rebounded following last week’s loss.
“Sean made some great throws,” Bell said. “He knows he didn’t play well last week, and he played like Sean Charette can play tonight.”
Lake Orion struggled offensively in the first half, before using a 21-point third quarter to take control of the game.
The Dragons had chances to build an early lead, but failed to capitalize on two scoring chances in the first quarter.
Kicker Kyle Searle had a 34-yard field goal attempt blocked, and Charette fumbled an exchange with the center on Lake Orion’s first two trips to the red zone.
However, Clarkston was unable to take advantage of Lake Orion’s mistakes as the Wolves managed just one first down in the first half.
Lake Orion’s defense also shut down Clarkston’s running game, limiting the Wolves to only 13 yards on the ground.
Hudson’s 5-yard run with 1:46 remaining in the second quarter gave the Dragons a 7-0 lead going into halftime.
“We made a few adjustments at halftime,” Bell said. “It was more our guys coming off the ball, and Marques had a great second half.
“We got in a rhythm and things clicked, and we’re doing a good job up front.”
Stevenson’s 3-yard run with 7:08 left in the third quarter extended the Lake Orion lead to 14-0, but Clarkston answered right back.
Clarkston freshman quarterback Brenden Newvine, who was starting in place of the injured Mitch Baenziger and Nick Demattia, connected on a 58-yard touchdown pass to Chris Canada on the Wolves’ next play from scrimmage to cut the lead to 14-7.
Newvine finished the game with 121 yards on 8-of-17 passing with one touchdown and no interceptions.
That was as close as the Wolves would get, however, as Lake Orion needed only four plays on its ensuing drive to extend its lead back to 14 points following Ney’s touchdown reception.
Stevenson’s 12-yard touchdown run with 32 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Dragons a 28-7 lead, which proved to be the final score.
Clarkston coach Kurt Richardson said his team has to put the loss in the past and try to learn from its mistakes.
“(Lake Orion) outflanked us, they beat us outside a little bit and they threw the ball pretty well,” Richardson said. “Typical Orion, they’re going to beat you here and beat you there.
“They’re pretty well-balanced.”
Both teams have qualified for the MHSAA playoffs, and they will learn their opponents during the Selection Sunday show at 7 p.m on Oct. 24. MLive.com will post complete playoff brackets as soon as they become available.