Clarkston Football wraps ‘23 season in Elite Eight

By Wendi Reardon Price
Clarkston News Sports Writer
— Clarkston Varsity Football players and coaches hugged and said their good-byes to the seniors after the Wolves finished their playoff run with a 21-20 loss to West Bloomfield in the MHSAA Division 1 Regional 3 game last Friday.
“What I will remember about this group – just hard nosed, played hard in terms of their passion and the way they play, I am very proud of them,” said Clarkston Varsity Football Head Coach Justin Pintar as the players made their way off the Lakers’ field. “That’s a group where you have a couple of guys – Des(man Stephens) and Brody (Kosin) who are going to go on to play Division 1 football. Those guys are outstanding football players and that’s why they earn those scholarships. Then after that, I am hoping there are a couple of other guys who go on to play college football. There are a lot of gritty tough kids who don’t necessarily have a lot of size, but they play hard. They play for each other, they compete. I think that will be the legacy they leave behind – they never back down, they never walked away from a challenge.”
It was the seniors who helped lead the Wolves as they jumped to a 20-0 lead just over 12 minutes into the game.
Kosin scored with 6:33 remaining in the first quarter on an 8-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Brady Collins. A PAT from senior Eddie Langton put the score, 7-0.
Seconds later, junior Brady Beck recovered the ball on kick off, and the Wolves were back in possession on the 29-yard line.
Kosin struck again with 4:45 left in the quarter after catching 23-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Lukas Boman. Langton’s PAT attempt was blocked.
Just over three minutes later, Stephens intercepted the Lakers’ pass on the 2-yard line.
Three plays later and 15 seconds into the second quarter, Stephens scored on a 94-yard touchdown pass from Collins. With a PAT from Langton, the Wolves led 20-0.
“Our kids came out ready to play and right away we go down and get a touchdown,” Pintar said. “To go up 20 points early, felt really good. But they also knew based on the last game and how much talent they have, we couldn’t be content with that. We tried not to be.
“I am sure there are things we’re going to look back at and certainly wish we would’ve done different,” Pintar added. “But I thought our defense came up with some big stops and some big plays. They gave us opportunities. Offensively, we just didn’t get it going after the third touchdown. We had some chances that we just didn’t quite convert. Hats off to them, that’s a very good football team. They just made one more play than we did today.”
The Lakers led 21-20 after scoring with just over two minutes left in the game. With two seconds remaining, Langton attempted a field goal and West Bloomfield blocked it, ending the game.
The Wolves finished the season with an overall record 6-6, 4-1 OAA Red.
“I know our record for the better part of the year didn’t indicate it but we played an unbelievable schedule,” Pintar said. “We didn’t play our best towards the end of the year. We played really well today. We play here and there and it’s a different game. We just didn’t quite finish the drive there at the end. I am proud of the boys. They could have easily folded up three weeks ago. They didn’t and that’s a credit to them. That’s an important life lesson right there is to never give up and quit. A lot of people didn’t think we would get past round one and here we were with an opportunity to go into the semifinals – just a point short.”
He added the ups and downs of the season will help returners.
“You hope they got a taste of some success and they know how good that feels,” Pintar said. “We talk a lot about learning from adversity and learning from things like this. I hope they remember how good it felt when we won the district. My hope is they take this and it just fuels them for their off season. The guys use it for motivation. It’s only negative for the underclassmen if they don’t use it, learn from it and it makes them work that much harder.”

Senior Brody Kosin avoids West Bloomfield’s defense as he closes in on the end zone on his second touchdown run in the first quarter. Photo: John Ransom/Winship Studio

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