BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Gridiron heroes clinched a playoff spot as they finished their game against Lake Orion with a 17-9 win last Friday.
The Clarkston Varsity Football team is back to practice this week, working to finish the regular season better than the last two weeks have gone for them on the field.
“We just had no fire,” reflected Kurt Richardson, long-time head coach of the Wolves, after the team’s win over Orion. “We couldn’t run the ball. The turnovers were huge. We better get better in a hurry.”
The Wolves opened the scoring with 6:55 remaining in the first half with a 16-yard touchdown run from senior Michael Fluegel. Junior kicker Tristan Mattson added to the score with a successful PAT attempt, 7-0.
Lake Orion closed the half with a field goal with 1:12 remaining.
The Wolves scored again in the bottom of the third quarter as senior quarterback Nate Uballe passed the ball to senior wide receiver Tieler Houston for a 85-yard touchdown run with 2:21 on the clock.
“I don’t know what the offensive guys saw,” said Richardson. “They saw something. It was huge.”
Lake Orion closed in on the score with a touchdown with six minutes to go. During the play they received a penalty for unsportsman conduct, pushing their attempt for extra points back 15 yards. Senior Zach Scott sacked their quarterback before they could add more points to their score.
The Wolves next big play came from senior Cody Hughes as he intercepted the Dragons’ pass attempt with 2:34 left in the game. Twenty-five seconds later senior kicker and punter Jermaine Roemer scored on his 41-yard field goal attempt, putting the score 17-9.
The Dragons didn’t give up as they made one more attempt for a touchdown with three seconds to go. The pass went into the endzone and Houston deflected the pass before it could be caught.
“Hats off to Lake Orion,” Richardson added. “They are 2-and-5 (in OAA Red) and they played their butts off – that’s a tribute to the kids and their coaches.”
Uballe was 11-for-17 in passing for 177 yards. Houston caught five of the passes for 125 yards.
Fluegel was the leading rusher, going 85 yards on ten carries. Mattson was 2-for-2 on PATs.
Senior Zach Scott led defense with ten tackles, two with loss of yards for the Dragons. Hughes had six tackles, three assists and one interception and senior Maxx Brennan had five tackles and three assists.
The Wolves (6-2, 5-1 OAA Red) will find out during MHSAA’s Selection Show this Sunday on FOX Sports Detroit – PLUS who they will face in the first round of playoffs. Before then, they host Farmington Hills Harrison (6-2, 6-1 OAA White) on Friday.
“We came out really ugly tonight,” Houston reflected after the win over Orion. “We have a lot of things we need to work on. We are still trying to get better as a team. We are still coming together. Everything will fall into place. Go Wolves.”
Kick off is at 7 p.m.