BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Defense ruled the field as the Wolves posted their third consecutive win at University of Michigan for Battle of the Big House III last Friday night against Grandville, 12-9.
“Too many mistakes,” admitted head coach Kurt Richardson on the boys’ season opener. “We move the ball, we get a hold. We move the ball, we jump offsides. But there are good things that happened. Grandville is a good football team so I will take it.”
Grandville opened the game starting on the 20-yard line, but were unable to hold onto the ball for long as their weren’t able to get past Wolves’ defense to convert any of their plays into first downs.
Clarkston took over on the 48-yard after Josh Luther caught the Bulldogs’ punt with 96 seconds into the game.
The Wolves held control of the ball and senior kicker Tristan Mattson posted their first score with 2:38 remaining in the first quarter off his 20-yard field goal, putting the Wolves 3-0.
The Bulldogs gained ground in the second quarter and made a go for a touchdown being stopped by Luther twice and Garrett Dellinger, putting them at their fourth down with two yards to go.
Zach Reid stopped them on their final attempt on the 1-yard line, sending Clarkston players and fans into a cheering frenzy with nine minutes to go in the first half.
The Bulldogs fought back and intercepted with 4:17 remaining. Less than 90 seconds later, Conor Donahue intercepted Grandville’s pass to get possession back.
With only a few seconds remaining, Mattson scored his second field goal of the night on 22 yards to put the Wolves at 6-0.
Keagan King caught the opening punt of the third quarter, bringing the ball to the 27-yard line before he was stopped.
Quarterback Jake Jensen handed the ball to runningback Jacob Honstetter three times. On the third play and a minute into the quarter, Honstetter went on a 69-yard run into the endzone to put the score, 12-0.
Grandville got onto the scoreboard with 6:40 remaining in the game with a touchdown and PAT, 12-7.
The Bobcats had two more points added to their score with 2:06 left in the game when Clarkston’s punt didn’t go as planned.
The snap went over Mattson and he chased the ball down and threw it out of bounds into the endzone for a safety instead of Grandville being able to start so close to Clarkston’s endzone.
Richardson shared they have been burned by it before.
“We fell on it on the two. Then, they had the ball at first and goal on two,” he said. “It’s something we practiced. You’ve got to coach those things.”
Spindler led defense with a total of seven tackles, two for losses. Josh Luther also had seven tackles while Brendan Barker had six tackles. Jayviar Suggs had five tackles, three for losses a huge sack during Grandville’s fourth down in the final quarter. Max Nicklin had four tackles.
“Defensively I though we played well all the way around,” Richardson said. “They are going to score a lot of points. Spindler and Dellinger are pretty darn good young pups.”
Honstetter carried the ball 12 times for 128 yards and had two first downs. Jake Billette carried the ball 20 times for 93 yards.
The Wolves (1-0) host West Bloomfield (1-0) on Friday. The Lakers will be looking to avenge their 3-2 loss in the state championship game last season to Clarkston.
Kick off is at 7 p.m.