October 24, 2012 - The Dragons came off the field at the half disheartened and as cold as the rainy weather they played in during last Friday's game against the Farmington Falcons.
Senior Jeremy King kicks an extra point while senior Nick Booker holds the ball. Photo by G. Ouzounian (click for larger version)
The score was 18-8 after the green and white managed to just get on the board at the end of the second quarter.
The first half saw Farmington come out strong, scoring three unanswered touchdowns thanks to Dragon mistakes and missteps. When they once again took to the field, Lake Orion fans were maybe a bit weary from the weather and the losing game.
But the Dragons' spirits were reignited and the Falcons wouldn't see the end zone again.
Play after play, the Dragons took control of the game. Four touchdowns later and the final score was 43-18.
The weather made the game ugly and penalties were high with Orion earning six for 65 yards and the Falcons getting five for 45 yards. Farmington was the more tenacious team early and nearly doubled the first downs of Orion, but in the end, Orion collected 463 total yards to the Falcon's 227.
"Fundamentally we weren't very good to be honest," said Head Coach Chris Bell. "We turned the ball over, we had a punt blocked and we may not have been expecting Farmington to be as good as they were. We might have been a bit sluggish, because it can be hard to bounce back from a loss like we had, but Farmington was doing a good job, so we had to adjust."
Opening up the scoring was senior starting quarterback Derek DeLaura with 40 yard pass to senior wide receiver Chaz Miller, who ran it for another 40 yards, for the 80-yard TD reception.
After the half, the Dragons blew open the doors with a whopping 217 rushing yards from senior running back Jacob Miller; 63 from junior slotback Corey Ester and 19 from junior slotback Chris Leigh.
DeLaura threw for 131 yards while Chaz Miller and Ester shared the receptions.
"The play of the game was when we were down 18-0 and with the opening play DeLaura hit Chaz Miller who outran everyone to the end-zone for an 80-yard play that kind of gave us a shot in the arm," said Bell. "Going into the half we were on the board, did something positive and we were making our adjustments. I told the offense that at some point it comes down to us being fundamentally sound. Our defense came out big and forced a three-and-out. Their punter made a mistake and Jacob Miller scored on the first play (of the possession). We were like sharks smelling blood in the water and the game was really a tale of two halves."
Bell called the game a "lesson learned," and was thankful that the games in the playoffs will all be at home.
Clarkston is on the other side of the brackets in the playoff drawings held Sunday.
Lake Orion will begin their run against Sterling Heights Stevenson, a team with a 6-3 record in the MAC Red division.
Stevenson has not been in the playoffs since 2009 and is ready for another run in 2012.
"It's always good to have some adversity because with it comes a lot of lessons to be learned," said Bell. "We were playing a good team, away. It was our first time we were down like that but we kept believing and playing hard. We also had strength in numbers and we can wear people down."
The game against Stevenson is Friday at 7 p.m.