BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
The Clarkston Varsity Football team started off on the right foot, holding back Southfield Arts & Technology to claim the 24-17 win in the season opener last Friday on the road.
“It was very ugly,” admitted longtime Clarkston Varsity Football Head Coach Kurt Richardson. “Neither team played very well, lots of penalties, lot of turnovers. But the kids hung tough at the end and managed to pull it out, so it was a good win.”
Southfield opened the game with possession but didn’t gain much ground and had its punt blocked by CHS.
Clarkston took over and scored on its first play with an 8-yard touchdown run by sophomore Ethan Clark after getting the handoff from junior quarterback Mike DiPillo.
The Warriors gained a 3-point lead before the quarter closed with a field goal, 10-7. They held onto the lead scoring off a touchdown and PAT half way through the second quarter.
Clarkston closed in on the score on a 3-yard touchdown run by Clark with two minutes left in the second quarter.
The Wolves blocked another punt by Southfield with one minute left to the halftime break and took over on the 20-yard line.
Richardson added the special teams were great.
“We had two blocked punts,” he said “It’s something Coach (John) King had worked on very hard during the week. It led to two scores for us.”
Senior Stephen Rusnak scored on a 32-yard field goal to closed the half, 17-17.
The Wolves took the lead when DePillo made a 16-yard touchdown run with three minutes left in the third quarter as Clarkston held the Warriors to the 17 points for the next two stanzas.
“We made some defense adjustments that helped us a lot,” said Richardson. “Defense bent a bit but didn’t break. Offense had a couple of long drives which was kind of our game plan. We wanted to shorten up the game and eat up as much of the clock as we could. The offense got that done for us.”
Performances from the night came from Clark and senior Rocco Spindler.
“Ethan had a great game running the ball,” Richardson said. “Rocco was outstanding both sides of the ball.”
He added going into this week the players have a lot to work on as they prepare for their next OAA Red foe – Oxford.
“We have to get our passing game going. We have to tackle better in space. Tackling was terrible on Friday night,” Richardson noted. “Oxford is going to be well-coached. They are tough kids. It will be a good game.”
The Wolves (1-0) hosts Oxford (1-0) this Friday. Kick off is 7 p.m.
Spectators are limited to two per athlete due to COVID-19 restrictions.