October 24, 2012 - Kickers ended their season last week to their rivals Lake Orion in the MHSAA Districts Semifinals last Thursday, 2-1.
"We played well," said Clarkston Boys Varsity Soccer Coach Chuck Lawhorn. "Lake Orion was putting a lot of pressure on our outside backs. It was a little more difficult for us to move the ball around the back. We had a lot of opportunities; we just didn't get the ball in the net."
The Wolves did get the ball in the goal first, opening the second half with a pass from sophomore Ben Snider to junior Brad Schultz.
They drove the ball to continue to hold onto the lead back but shots weren't going in the net. Their lead ended when the Dragons tied the game with less than 19 minutes to go in the last half.
Lake Orion took the lead off a penalty kick from Rusty Reichenbach with 14 minutes left.
"We were really pressing and just couldn't get one in the net," Lawhorn said.
Senior Harry Smith made six saves in the net as the Wolves made 12 shots on the goal.
Clarkston opened the district playoffs with a 3-0 win over Davison, Oct. 16.
"We controlled the ball for most of the game," said Lawhorn. "We held possession, and the guys did a great job moving the ball around. We were patient around the net."
The boys made 16 shots on goal and Lawhorn added Davison's goalie played well while blocking 13 of the shots.
Schultz as well as sophomore Joey DeFinis and junior Jack O'Rilley each scored a goal in the second half to help the team win the game.
"We were down the first half and they were really chasing the ball," Lawhorn added. "They were a little bit fatigued in the second half. We came out and put three goals in the first ten minutes and we went out from there."
The Wolves graduate five seniors from this season - Gary Bigger, Jordan Kieft, Ryan Mangapora, Jon Miller and Smith.
"They led the team by example," said Lawhorn. "They worked hard every practice every day. They were there every day encouraging players to work hard. I think when you are a senior you make it the best day you can and rally the other guys around you. They were all contributors at some point of the season - either they started or didn't start. They all scored a goal."
Lawhorn added they leave a legacy for the returners and future players.
"The last couple of years have been difficult for the program," he said. "These guys made a step forward and really helped the program achieve the next level to where we want to be. We were really competitive during the season."
The Wolves have 13 juniors and five sophomores returning for next year.
"The juniors did an excellent job," said Lawhorn.
"Everyone came together on the team. It was a close knit team. I know we can continue that into next year. We should be really competitive next year."
The boys finished with a 14-7 overall record and 4-3 OAA Red league, finishing in third place. Lawhorn added the boys lost to teams higher ranked.
"We were competitive in those games all the way to the end," he said. "It is because of the seniors. They pushed the guys to make them better."
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.