Troy Hosts Clarkston in OAA Red Rivalry Game
Wolves will challenge Colts’ on both offense and defense.
Fresh off two convincing Oakland Activities Association wins, the Troy High School football team will look to improve to 3-1 as it hosts Red Division foe Clarkston Friday night.
In last week’s 31-10 victory against Rochester, the trio of running backs Oliver Jiang and Matt Oppenlander and quarterback Justin Losey combined for nearly 300 yards rushing. Jiang topped 180 yards for the second consecutive week, while Losey scored two touchdowns.
Following the win, Troy coach Gary Griffith said much of the credit for the Colts’ success running the football so far this season has been a result of the play of the team’s offensive line and preparation in practice.
“Duane Losey, the offensive coordinator, does an excellent job of preparing our kids,” Griffith said. “We know if we get this look, we’re going to run these plays, so it’s not a surprise to the kids. When they see what’s out there, we have an answer for that right now.”
Troy will need strong efforts again, both offensively and defensively, if it hopes to defeat a tough Clarkston team that is coming off an unusual week.
Earlier this week, Clarkston announced the team had played its first two games, wins over Rochester Adams and West Bloomfield, with a player who was academically ineligible. As a result, the Wolves agreed to forfeit those two wins, which dropped their record to 1-2.
Officially, Clarkston will enter the game with a losing record, but that should only place even more importance on what is already a heated rivalry game. A Troy win would drop Clarkston to 1-3, meaning the Wolves would need to win the rest of their games to automatically qualify for the playoffs.
Griffith said the Troy-Clarkston rivalry has been strong since the 1990’s, and the team is looking forward to facing a tough opponent like the Wolves.
“Number one, they’re a class program,” Griffith said. “(Clarkston coach) Kurt Richardson does a great job, and the last four or five years he’s really turned it up; they’ve made the playoffs and really played well.”
The rivalry has been lopsided in the last decade, and the Colts lost 21-7 at Clarkston last year, but Griffith said he is confident his team can compete.
“I’d like to think we’re getting better again because I want to be able to challenge them,” Griffith said. “We haven’t beaten them in a while. We have great respect for the program and our kids are going to be excited to play.”
Kickoff for Friday’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m.