FOOTBALL: Clarkston shuts down Royal Oak
By JAKE THIELEN
Special to The Oakland Press
Clarkston quarterback Mitch Baenziger threw for three first-half touchdowns as the Wolves defeated Royal Oak, 45-7, in an OAA Red Division football matchup Friday night.
Baenziger threw for 177 yards on 6-of-9 passing in the opening half, including touchdown passes to Michael Schwartz, Mac Pearce and Matt Dellinger.
Clarkston (5-2, 5-1 OAA Red) finished the first half with a 38-0 lead and held on in the second half for the win.
Senior running back Joey Goss ran for 103 yards on 12 carries with two scores, including a 50-yard touchdown run up the left sideline in the third quarter that gave the Wolves their final 45-7 margin of victory.
With the win, Clarkston is just one win shy of clinching a playoff berth after forfeiting its first two games of the season due to the use of an ineligible player.
Clarkston coach Kurt Richardson said the play of Baenziger in the first half was the difference in the game.
“I didn’t think we controlled the line of scrimmage very well, but we were lucky we had Mitch back there and he made some big plays early,” Richardson said. “We didn’t run the ball as well as I would have liked.”
Clarkston held the Ravens scoreless until Royal Oak quarterback Brandon Fredrikson scored on a 46-yard run in the third quarter. The Wolves were led defensively by Dellinger who had an interception return for a touchdown nullified by an illegal block in the back away from the play.
Clarkston has now allowed just seven total points in its last two games, and Richardson said he liked the way his defense is progressing.
“Defensively, we’re getting better,” Richardson said. “We’re going get a whole lot better in the next two weeks, but we’re getting there.”
Friday night was senior night for Royal Oak (1-6, 0-6 OAA Red), and Fredrikson, a senior, made the biggest impact for the Ravens in the losing effort. Fredrikson threw for 135 yards and added another 105 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Senior running back Robert Gibson caught six passes for 102 yards for Royal Oak, while senior running back Nolan Jones added two receptions for 35 yards.
Royal Oak coach Jeff Hill said the final score didn’t indicate how well his team played.
“The score doesn’t show that plays were made, it was just they’re a little bit better athletically than we are right now,” Hill said. “Our kids were on the spot, and from where we were at the beginning of the year to now, we are understanding football a lot better.”
Clarkston will look to clinch a playoff berth against Oxford in next week’s OAA crossover game, while Royal Oak will face Southfield-Lathrup.