BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
The Wolves surrounded Clarkston Varsity Football Team Manager James Barnett as he held up the Clarkston/Lake Orion rivalry trophy last Friday night.
Clarkston continued their winning streak with a 31-7 in the Dragons’ stadium.
“Every single year it’s a tough game,” said senior Ayden Brooks, adding the Wolves wanted revenge after losing last year’s game 55-21. “Coming back from the loss last year felt amazing. We came back to prove we are still the strong Clarkston team historically we are known to be.”
With 20 seconds left in the first quarter, Brooks scored his first touchdown of four off a 1-yard run.
“I felt like I had a responsibility since (Ethan) Clark was out to lead my team,” Brooks said. “I couldn’t have done it without my line. My line was the biggest factor. They are the heart and soul of this team.”
He added during practices the team prepared for Clark to be out with an injury he sustained during the West Bloomfield game the week prior.
“Clark was on the sideline with his injury so we knew all throughout practice we had to get better,” Brooks said. “The fact Clark was out just made me want it more. We did it for him. We did it as a team. Everybody did their part. They did a great job.”
The Dragons started their play on the 20-yard line. Junior Evan McClorey stopped them on their first try with a loss of one yard to end the first quarter.
Senior Harry Skinner stopped them after they gained five yards on their third down, putting the Dragons with one-yard to go on the fourth down.
Senior Logan Forbes caught Lake Orion’s punt and the Wolves started their play less than 90 seconds into the second quarter.
They worked their way in the Dragons’ territory off runs from junior quarterback Mike DePillo, sophomore wide receiver Michael Hein and Forbes.
They closed it with a 6-yard touchdown run by Brooks with 4:18 left in the second quarter, closing the first half, 14-0.
Brooks struck again in the second half with a 2-yard touchdown run with 37.8 seconds remaining in the third quarter and a 23-yard touchdown run.
The Dragons began play on their 36-yard line and were stopped by senior Caleb Stalworth and pushed back one yard.
Junior Wolf Ian Olson intercepted Lake Orion’s pass and Clarkston took over possession on the 32-yard line.
The Wolves didn’t gain any yards on the first play but on the next they closed in by nine yards on a pass from DePillo to Forbes.
DePillo handed the ball to Brooks and he took off along the sidelines on the next play to score on a 23-yard touchdown run with 11:08 remaining in the game.
Senior Stephen Rusnak scored on a 31-yard field goal with four minutes left, and went 4-for-4 on PATs for the night.
With 12 seconds left in the game, junior Dragon C.J. Witt scored on a 15-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Dom Bruno.
Brooks was also on the defense line keeping Lake Orion to zero points for a majority of the game.
“We just needed to make sure we were more secure and stronger defensively this year,” he said. “We did exactly that – we came out to play.”
He added the mentality for this year has been to get better after last season’s 3-6 record.
“We didn’t perform last year but we come back, we are ready to play, fixing up mistakes, cleaning everything up and making sure we have a good game,” he said.
Clarkston (4-0, 4-0 OAA Red) hosts Birmingham Seaholm (3-1, 3-1 OAA White) this Friday. Kick off is at 7 p.m.
Spectators are limited due to COVID restrictions.