By Wendi Reardon Price
Clarkston News Sports Writer
ANN ARBOR — It wasn’t the result the Wolves had wanted in their season- opening 24-10 loss at the annual Battle at the Big House against Northville last Friday, but it was a result they could grow from.
Clarkston Varsity Football Head Coach Justin Pintar shared Northville returned a lot of their starters from last year.
“That’s a good football team,” he said as both teams walked off the University of Michigan field. “They’re physical. We have a lot of new guys on our offensive line. I knew that was going to be a key to the game – how our new guys would step up on the offensive line and you have new quarterback and running back playing their first big game.
“The things that we did wrong and the mistakes that we made I thought were correctable mistakes,” Pintar shared. “I didn’t look at it as we have no chance. I think a lot of the things we did wrong are things we can get better at and correct. That’s what we are going to do. We are going to watch film this weekend and on Monday sit down with the team and get better. I tell them it’s only a negative if we let it be a negative.
“If we grow from it and get better like we did last year (loss to Davison in season opener), then it’s a positive. That’s what life is, taking lumps and bouncing back.”
Pintar added having seniors Desman Stephens and Brody Kosin on the outside on offense helped the Wolves, and those two will be key players this season.
“Give them (Northville) credit, they did a really great job staying with both of them,” Pintar said. “The throws were either just a bit off or they were there but the defensive guys, the corners, got their hands on them and it was tough for us to catch it. I thought they did a really nice job on those guys when we went to them. It’s frustrating because an inch this way or an inch that way and it’s a touchdown. I know Des and Brody will make those plays. They can make them in their sleep.”
Pintar shared the defensive line did a really nice job – especially in the first half.
“In the second half, we had the one breakdown on a pass that really hurt,” he said. “We talked a lot about we can’t give up those chunk plays. It was the big chunk plays that really hurt. Our offense just didn’t keep them off the field long enough. Those guys were tired because they were out there for so long. We have to do a better job offensively, keeping our defense off the field and keeping them fresh.”
The Wolves opened the game with possession and quickly ran out of downs, with the ball going to Northville with 9:56 on the clock.
Senior Adam Denver slowed the Mustangs down on his tackle. Senior Desman Stephens was next to stop Northville with a loss of five yards.
The Mustangs scored with eight minutes left in the first quarter on a 10-yard touchdown run by senior Evan Deak and a successful PAT to lead 7-0.
Clarkston closed the gap in the score with a 38-yard field goal from senior Eddie Langton with three minutes left in the quarter.
The second quarter was scoreless and Northville opened the third quarter with a 38-yard touchdown by senior Nick Helner to put the lead 14-3 with 91 seconds of the half.
The next big play came from Stephens when he scored a 45-yard punt return for a touchdown, creating cheers of celebration in the stands from fans with 6:45 on the clock. A PAT from Langton put the Wolves down 14-10.
Two minutes later, Northville scored on a 35-yard touchdown pass and again in the fourth quarter on a 29-yard field goal.
Clarkston heads to Southfield Arts & Technology (1-0), 24675 Lasher Road in Southfield, this Friday, 7 p.m.
The Wolves face their first OAA Red league opponent on Friday, Sept. 8 when they host Rochester Adams, at 7 p.m.
By Wendi Reardon Price