BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
The Clarkston Everest Collegiate Football team sealed its spot in the Final Four as the fall high school tournaments restarted last Saturday, Jan. 9.
The Mountaineers changed school history when they claimed the MHSAA Division 8 Football Region 4 championship against Petersburg Summerfield with a 35-0 win at the Legacy Center in Brighton.
“It was great to come out and get a win after the two months off,” said Michael Pruchnicki, head coach, after the fall season was put on pause after the team won their district championship, Nov. 14, due to concerns of the spreading of COVID-19.
“We’re really excited to be playing another week,” he added. “Even after this long pause and everything, we’ve been having a lot of fun enjoying the opportunity to practice and continue to play.”
The Mountaineers opened the game with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Giovanni Mastromatteo to Johnny Nedwick, less than five minutes into the game.
Dominic Cross scored the next touchdown on a 5-yard run to send the score to 14-0.
“It was good to see our offense come out and score early,” Pruchnicki said. “We took advantage of some opportunities, some short fields defensively. It was great team effort by our whole defense to be able to hold Summerfield to zero points.”
Everest scored on 10-yard touchdown run by Lasceski after an interception with two minutes remaining in the first half.
The Mountaineers scored twice in the second half with 4-yard touchdown pass from Lasceski to Michael McGrath in the third quarter.
Jimmy Neme scored on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Mastromatteo to close the game in the fourth quarter.
Mastromatteo went 7-for-14 in passing for 115 yards. Nedwick caught four passes for 79 yards and Neme caught two passes for 33 yards.
Lasceski was the leading rusher, with 150 yard on 19 carries. Neme ran 58 yards on five carries and Nathan Beggs went 40 yards on five carries.
Joey Thibodeau went 5-for-5 on PATs.
For defense, Cross had two assists, one sack and one tackle. Lasceski had two tackles and Gavin Ryeson had one tackle. Neme and Nedwick each had two assists.
The Mountaineers (10-0) play Centreville (9-0) in the semifinal game on Friday at the Legacy Center in Brighton, 7 p.m.
“With only four teams left every team is going to be really tough and I know Centreville is really well coached,” Pruchnicki said. “It’s going to be a big challenge for us.”
MHSAA limited numbers of spectators would be allowed for football tournaments after receiving approval from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Football teams will receive 125 tickets, to be divided among game participants for purchase by immediate family members via the GoFan digital ticketing platform.
Spectators in different households must be spaced out by six feet and maintain distancing at all other times including arrival and departure from the game facility. Spectators also must wear face masks at all times.