Football standouts reflect on youth days with Chiefs

Clarkston News Sports Writer
Two of Clarkston’s most recruited linemen Rocco Spindler and Garrett Dellinger reflected on their years with the Clarkston Chiefs as the program celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The three-year starters with the Clarkston Varsity Football team have gained attention from over 50 colleges and universities for their skills and abilities. Both have received about 20 offers each.
Dellinger announced his top four colleges are University of Michigan, Penn State, Ohio State and Lousiana State University, May 13. Spindler shared his top five choices on his Twitter account, May 22, which included the same four plus the University of Notre Dame.
Both played for the Chiefs for three years from second to fourth grade beginning with the freshman teams after they had played flag football.

Rocco Spindler leads the Wolves as they head onto the field in their home opener against Bloomfield Hills in the 2019 season.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Spindler said about his first year with the Chiefs. “I loved football, but the Chiefs is really where I learned to play the game.”
He added he was mixed about it – he loved it and he hated it.
“I hated it because I had to lose weight to play on the team,” Spindler admitted. “For me, hating it made me a better football player because I had to commit to lose weight to be on the team and really establish the integrity I use today. I started it as a young kid and still use it.”
For Dellinger it was more mental and technique.
“It made me stronger and not scared to do things,” he said. “The biggest thing I learned was if I hit someone my hardest it won’t hurt.”
Spinder added Coach Featherston said to be the hammer, not the nail.
“For sure, I am still the hammer,” he smiled.
The time with Chiefs prepared the two for the Clarkston Football program.
“It’s family, brotherhood and a great community that supports you,” Spindler said. “It’s laying the bricks and the foundation. You build off of it.”
They added they looked up to a lot of Chiefs players who came before them.
“They definitely gave us a lot of leaders to look up to who went from Chiefs to middle school to high school,” Dellinger said. “We had people to look up to, strive to be and have a goal of what we wanted to do.”
“The best thing they had was they would bring previous players back,” Spindler said, adding now they visit the Chiefs players. “It’s something we do every summer. We go back and do some drills with them and give them a motivational speech.”
Part of their motivational speech includes working hard and do what coaches tell you to do.
“Do what you need to do and all the rest will come into play and just take care of itself as long as you put in the work and the effort,” Dellinger added. “Everything will come naturally, you won’t have to force anything.”
“The biggest thing is what are you going to do when nobody is looking,” Spindler said, adding both he and Dellinger continue to work out during the off season to prep for the upcoming season. “Are you going to put in the extra work? Are you going to work out or hang out with your friend all summer and show up the first day of training camp not prepared? The biggest thing is stay healthy, hungry and humble after you made yourself who you are.”
Spindler and Dellinger shared young athletes should play with the Chiefs.
“It’s a fun experience,” Spindler said, adding athletes learn how to play football and learn conditioning while being active and healthy. “It’s a good time. The relationships you build in Chiefs, you will build off of those the rest of your life. I am still friends with the guys I played with like Garrett. We played together on Chiefs and before that we played flag football together. We still have that relationship. It carries a bond with you through high school and possibly after.”
Dellinger added it will also help athletes mentally.

Garrett Dellinger runs onto Clarkston’s field in their 2019 home opener. Photos by Larry Wright/WrightActionPix

“It’s the easiest time to develop the mindset you can have,” he said. “The mindset carries over to everything.”
Spindler and Dellinger are scheduled to open their final season with the Wolves at the fifth annual Battle at the Big House, Aug. 27. Clarkston plays Pinckney at 7 p.m. Schedule could change due to Coronavirus.
The Clarkston Chiefs will have a delayed start in their season and will have eight games. The Northern Youth Football League posted the start of the season is Aug. 31 as of now. For more information about the Clarkston Chiefs, please visit or the Clarkston Chiefs Facebook.
Have a Clarkston Chiefs story? Email Wendi at

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