BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Clarkston Varsity Football came into the second half against Lake Orion fired up to take a 50-22 win in their rivalry home game last Friday.
“We came out a little flat in the first half,” said sophomore Desman Stephens II, who closed the game with his first touchdown.
“It was a nice win,” said Kurt Richardson, long-time head coach.
The Wolves scored in the first quarter with a pair of touchdowns from junior Ethan Clark.
He scored less than four minutes into the game off a 41-yard touchdown pass from senior Mike DePillo.
Clark struck again with 3:47 left in the first quarter, scoring a touchdown off a 17-yard pass from DePillo.
Lake Orion opened the second quarter with a 24-yard touchdown run by Jack Wellman. Clarkston defense blocked the PAT attempt.
With 8:14 remaining in the first half, the Dragons scored on a 25-yard field goal on their fourth down with eight yards to go, closing the Wolves’ lead to 14-9.
Lake Orion took the lead with 1:17 left, scoring a touchdown on a fumble in the end zone. The Wolves blocked their attempt for a two-point conversion.
“They came out better than I thought,” Stephens said, adding Lake Orion switched it up from what they had seen on film. “They came out ready to play the first half but the second half we just shut them down.”
“They run something different all the time,” Richardson said. “What they ran last week, they didn’t run at all this week. We prepared for both, but they have some talented kids over there and they run the mid line. Their quarterback did a great job.”
With seconds counting down to half time, DePillo connected a 2-yard touchdown pass to senior Brady Krziok. He scored an extra two points on a pass from Clark, closing the first half, 22-15.
“We were relaxed,” said Richardson. “We weren’t making a great effort. The kids look at records. We tried to tell them this is Orion. You throw out the records. You go back and we beat them 35-7 in game nine, then they turn around and beat us. Then, two years later it was flip flopped. We have had great rivalries. It is what it is. They didn’t come to play the first half. They played well the second half.”
“At half time Coach KR just got into our minds. We just came out from there,” Stephens said.
The Wolves widened their lead with a 42-yard touchdown run by Clark just over three minutes into the third quarter.
DePillo scored on a 46-yard touchdown run as he escaped Lake Orion defense on a run which finished in the end zone with 3:46 remaining in the quarter.
Clark scored his fourth and final touchdown of the night on a 54-yard run with eight minutes left in the game.
“He just plays the game,” said Richardson. “He is all about the team. He doesn’t care about stats or anything else. He hangs onto the football. Everything you want in a good back.”
Lake Orion scored a touchdown with 5:44 left in the game to close the Wolves’ lead to 43-22.
Less than a minute later, Stephens scored on a 77-yard touchdown pass from DePillo, his first touchdown for the team.
“I just had to put the burners out,” Stephens said. “I couldn’t get caught my first time. It was exciting that was a first. I am usually a defensive player. When you score it feels so good. Your team coming at you with laughs and giggles, I love it.”
“Des is so talented,” said Richardson. “We’ve got to get him on the field more. It’s one of our goals.”
DePillo went 14-for-20 in passing for 238 yards. Stephens caught the ball once for 77 yards. Clark caught two passes 58 yards. Senior Adrian McClain caught four passes for 34 yards. Senior Lucas McKinney caught two passes for 29 yards.
Clark rushed 224 yards on 22 carries. DePillo rushed 67 yards on seven carries. Junior Clay Smaka carried the ball three times for 42 yards. Sophomore Edward Langson was 6-for-6 on PATs.
Senior Evan McClorey had three tackles and six assists. Senior Ian Olson had two tackles and six assists. Stalworth had two tackles, three assists and one tackle for loss. Junior Mason King had two tackles and two assists. Stephens and senior Caden Ladd each had one tackle and three assists. Junior Cavanaugh Diton had five assists.
Under Michigan High School Athletic Association’s new playoff point formula, the Wolves have 67.857 playoff points and was ranked ninth in Division 1 on Sunday, Oct. 9. The top 32 teams will move on to playoffs after week nine.
Clarkston (6-1, 4-1 OAA Red) hosts Birmingham Groves (2-5, 2-3 OAA White) for the Wolves’ Homecoming game this Friday.
Kick off is at 7 p.m.