BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Senior Stephen Rusnak ran forward and kicked the ball as senior Alec Boan held it for a 31-yard field goal in overtime to put Clarkston up 24-21 over West Bloomfield last Friday night at CHS.
It broke the 21-21 tie against the Lakers, who were unsuccessful on their four attempts to score, giving the Wolves the win.
“That is what Clarkston football is all about,” said long-time Clarkston Varsity Football Head Coach Kurt Richardson to a smiling, excited team after the game.
As the players left the field, he said, “these kids, their attitudes and their spirits have been so good. We started out you got a season and you expect them to be fired up. No season guys, it’s over with. They stayed right there. They stayed right up there at that high and kept working. Then, when we got it back they just picked it up from there and rolled.”
The night began with senior Caleb Stalworth intercepting the Lakers’ pass in their first play of the night, bringing the ball to the 10-yard line.
“Caleb has done great,” Richardson said. “A big turnover right off the get-go – that was big for us.”
Junior quarterback Mike DePillo scored three plays later on a 4-yard touchdown run. A PAT from Rusnak put the Wolves up 7-0 with 10:23 left in the first quarter.
The Lakers tied the score four minutes later off a 7-yard touchdown run by Dillon Tatum. They took the lead with two minutes left in the first half on a touchdown by Donovan Edwards.
West Bloomfield scored what would be their last touchdown for the night on an 80-yard run by Maxwell Hairston with 8:27 remaining in the third quarter.
The Wolves’ possession began on the 3-yard line in their own turf and would be a 97-yard drive going into the fourth quarter.
“It was a long drive,” said senior offensive lineman Garrett Dellinger. “We just kept pushing it. We have never been as tight as a unit as we have been before.”
“Delli and Rocco (Spindler) are the leaders and the other guys did a great job and kept grinding and grinding,” Richardson added.”Those guys played defense, too. We conditioned the kids pretty hard but that’s why right there.”
The drive ended six seconds into the fourth quarter with a 1-yard touchdown from DePillo.
The Lakers fumbled on their first play and junior Evan McClorey recovered the ball on the 28-yard line as Clarkston fans roared from the stands.
Sophomore Ethan Clark ran down the middle of the field a few plays later to tie the score on a 16-yard run with 10:16 left in the game.
“’Clarkie’ just plays the game,” said Richardson. “He has been outstanding for us. He works his butt off.”
It wasn’t the first time the Wolves have been down against West Bloomfield. Richardson recalled the game in 2016 when the Lakers were up 21-0 and Clarkston finished with a 42-21 win.
“We just believed in ourselves,” he said. “We knew our big four were up front and eventually we would get that going and Clarkie was awesome in the second half. running the ball just a great end. Defensively we rose up and played great defense.”
“We knew what we had to do,” Dellinger said. “We knew they wanted to pass it so we’re going to put pressure on their quarterback. We just all came together.”
The Wolves (3-0, 3-0 OAA Red) head to Lake Orion (2-0, 2-0 OAA Red) on Friday.
Spectators are limited for the game due to COVID restrictions. Please tune in to the game live on www.dragonbroadcasting.org and on the NFHS Network.