BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
The Wolves finished their season in the MHSAA Division 1 Football District Semifinals against Grand Blanc last Friday, 42-35.
The loss was difficult but long-time Clarkston Varsity Football Head Coach Kurt Richardson is looking on the bright side and the season as a whole.
“If someone had told me at the start of the year ‘okay here’s the deal, with COVID and stuff going on, you get to play eight games and be league champs,’ we would have jumped at it,” he said. “So, yeah, it’s disappointing how it ended but we’ve got to look at the bright side and we even got a season.”
He added the kids worked hard even when they didn’t know if they would have a season in the fall.
“They never gave up hope,” Richardson said. “Not to be in school, then be in school. It’s been crazy. They worked hard. I don’t know if we could have asked more from them. But, if you look at the big picture kids did a great job handling COVID. Other teams were losing their season, and our kids tried to do the right thing. We were happy with the kids. They were great kids to coach.”
The Wolves came back from 3-6 season last year to finish 7-1 this year and go undefeated in the OAA Red to capture the league title.
The only loss was against Grand Blanc, who finished the first quarter in the playoff game with a 10-0 lead.
“Their quarterback is outstanding,” Richardson said. “Their skilled kids were very good. We kept falling back and we just couldn’t get over that hump. We would get a turnover. We had some crucial penalties. It was just one of those nights. We didn’t play well Friday. It takes awhile to get over the bitterness of that last defeat.”
The Wolves narrowed in on the Bobcats’ lead in the second quarter as sophomore Ethan Clark scored on a 4-yard touchdown run less than two minutes into the period. A PAT from senior Stephen Rusnak put the score, 10-7.
Grand Blanc scored again with three seconds left in the first half on a touchdownby Elijah Jackson.
They scored two more touchdowns within the first five minutes of the third quarter.
Junior Mike DePillo closed the lead scoring a touchdown on a 8-yard run with 4:50 left in the period.
The Wolves scored three times in the final quarter, starting with a 3-yard touchdown run by DePillo with 6:12 on the clock.
Less than three minutes later, senior Logan Forbes caught a 15-yard pass from DePillo in the end zone.
Juniors Caden Ladd, Caleb Stalworth and seniors Josh Adams and Drew Stark stopped Grand Blanc from gaining yards and they quickly ran out of downs.
The Wolves closed the gap by seven points as DePillo scored on a 6-yard touchdown run with 1:39 left in the game, 42-35. Grand Blanc finished the night taking a knee.
The Wolves graduate 21 seniors this year including captains and 4-year starters Garrett Dellinger and Rocco Spindler.
“The seniors were awesome,” said Richardson. “It starts with Delly and Rocco in leadership. The seniors have been a great group to coach. They have put us back on the path to stay successful.”