October 16, 2013 - One goal was achieved last week but another remains for Lake Orion.
Seniors Tanner Seibold and Brianna Anderson were crowned King and Queen at half-time during the homecoming game against the Pontiac Phoenix. Dan Shriner. (click for larger version)
The Dragons qualified for the state playoffs on Friday with a 62-13 romp past Pontiac on Homecoming night.
Coach Chris Bell congratulated his team on their sixth win of the season, which qualified the Dragons for the state playoffs. Bell also reminded them that another goal – that of league champions – is in sight when they travel to play Clarkston on Friday.
Lake Orion has qualified for the state playoffs 14 of the past 15 years. The win improved the team's record to 6-1 and 5-1 in OAA Red play.
"Whenever you qualify, it is a great thing. It is goal number one," Bell said. "Now, goal number two is to win the league championship. If we can knock off (Clarkston), we will share the league title."
The Dragons wanted to use the Pontiac game as a tune-up of sorts. The Phoenix were 0-6 and were not expected to challenge Lake Orion.
"We wanted to get fundamentally better and we threw the ball more than we have. We have a very good passing game but we haven't had to use it. We wanted to get game experience there. (Quarterback) Connor (Grant) did a great job and we did a great job protecting him. We wanted to clean some things up. We played well in all phases."
It was also helpful that everyone on the team saw playing time. That experience will help the team this year and in the future, Bell saidThe Dragons scored early and kept the pressure on the Phoenix for the entire 48 minutes.
Lake Orion built up a 28-0 lead after the first quarter and added another 14 in the second to hold a 42-0 lead at halftime of the homecoming game and festival.
Dominick Giovinazzo led the attack with 95 yards rushing on 12 carries and touchdown runs of 70 and 17 yards. Grant threw for 121 yards on 6-for-9 accuracy and included a 15-yard touchdown toss to Zach Greene.
Chris Leigh had a 10-yard TD run. Drew Casey had a 70-yard interception return for a score. Matt Krause had a two-yard run for a TD.
Zachary Serzo had a 10-yard TD run and Justin Pavliscak added a TD on a 39-yard run.
The Dragon's final TD of the night, which came with 55 seconds remaining, was the one that energized the team like no other of homecoming night.
Jabari Long scored on a 63-yard scamper in what will almost certainly be his only carry in high school.
The diminutive Long is a senior who so thrilled his teammates with the run that they carried him on their shoulders off the field following the score.
"He never played football before," Bell explained. "He's a senior and wanted to come out and play this year. He practices hard and works hard. This was the first time he's carried the ball. He had one carry, 63 yards and a touchdown. He can retire now.
"The kids know how hard he works. It was special for him and everybody on the team."
The Dragons finished with 365 yards on the ground and 121 passing yards. Pavliscak ran for 81 yards on five carries and Long's one tote of 63 yards gave him a pretty remarkable average in his playing days as a Dragon.
Former Leader Editor Dan Shriner will cover Wildcat football this season.