November 14, 2012 - The gridiron heroes surrounded their head coach Kurt Richardson and kneeled to the ground for the last post-game pep talk for the season.
Alex Dicea, Ben Kaminsky and David Beedle take down Rockford's ball carrier. Photo by Larry Wright (click for larger version)
"It was a wonderful season," Richardson began as he looked all of his players after their 25-14 loss to Rockford on Saturday in the MHSAA Regional finals.
The Wolves found themselves against a tough opponents as they opened the game with ball possession and using one of their strengths - their running game
"The defense was very good," said Richardson. "The first defense stuffed us. My hat's off to their defense. They are the best we have seen defensively no doubt about it."
They found an opportunity in the middle of the first quarter after two incomplete passes. They brought out junior kicker Shane Hynes for a 52-yard field goal attempt. The kick went wide and the score remained at zero.
The score wouldn't remain there for too much longer when the second quarter started with Rockford in possession.
With 7:53 left in the first half they scored on a 6-yard run by Connor Darby. Junior Wolf David Beedle blocked the PAT keeping the score 6-0.
The Wolves tried to score on the next possession but found themselves out of tries as the Rams defense continued to strike.
Sophomore quarterback D.J. Zezula punted the ball down to the 2-yard line.
Rockford made their first play work for them as Kyle Short passed the ball to Scott Kaule and he made a 98-yard run to score a touchdown with 6:19 on the clock.
With just a little over a minute left in the game it was the Wolves time to turn things around which started with Cole Chewins recovering Rockford's fumble.
Zezula handed off the ball to junior running back Ian Ericksen who ran 13-yards to bring the boys closer to the endzone.
With 28.2 seconds left to go Zezula made a 32-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Tim Cason to put the score 14-7.
The Wolves regained possession and started on the 20-yard line after they recovered the ball when Rams fumbled after kickoff. They gained 12 yards as the clock counted down to 4.6 seconds. Hynes attempted a field goal kick and it went wide.
The boys scored again with 2:23 left in the game when Zezula made a 8-yard touchdown pass to senior running back Alex Dicea. Hynes kicked the PAT putting the score 19-14.
"Our bread and butter is running the ball and doing what we do well," said Richardson.
The boys finished the season with a 11-1 record as OAA Red and district champions.
"They have an awful lot of desire," Richardson said when the team finished the regular season undefeated. "They don't get uptight. When they got behind against Lake Orion they didn't choke or get panicky. They believe in themselves."
Richardson and ten players were named to the OAA Red All-League team: runningback Eriksen, outside linebackers Nick Matich, Nick Azzopardi and Jesse Chadwell; kicker Hynes; defensive linebacker Beedle; linebackers Nathan Yeloushan and Chris Calvano; and defensive backs Caine Watlington and Dicea.
They lose 30 seniors to graduation.
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.