October 23, 2013 - Seniors Jacob Gozdor and Andrew Murray hoisted up the water jug and dumped it in celebration after the Wolves not only defeated Lake Orion but claimed their third consecutive OAA Red Championship.
DJ Zezula seeks an open player to pass the ball to in the first half. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
Clarkston Varsity Football Head Coach Kurt Richardson smiled as the boys surrounded him for a quick post game chat.
"You didn't lose poise," he said, reflecting back. Though the scoreboard lit with the final score of 49-28 - the Wolves fought for each one of those points.
The second half began just how the first half ended - with Clarkston in the lead. With a 2-yard run by senior Ian Eriksen three minutes into the third quarter the Wolves doubled the score, 28-14.
Lake Orion came back within the four minutes where they scored once. Then, they recovered an onside kick taking possession and scoring for a second time to tie the score.
The Wolves were still positive - they had 17:21 left in the game and they made it count.
"When things like that happen you just have to stay optimistic," Eriksen said. "Just turn around and make something happen."
Quarterback DJ Zezula handed the ball off to Eriksen and he covered 24-yards before landing in the endzone to bring the boys into the lead with 1:18 left in the third quarter.
"They (Orion) had momentum going," Richardson said. "Ian, his run, took the momentum they had and took it right away from them."
The ball was back in his hands after the defensive line was successful at keeping Orion from scoring.
The Wolves took over possession at 9:27 and it only took 14 seconds for Zezula to hand the ball off to Eriksen again and Eriksen to flash down the field for a 64-yard run for another touchdown.
They gained possession with seven minutes left in the game after senior Reid Kaminski intercepted the ball, his first of two for the night.
From there it only took four plays before Eriksen struck again for his sixth and final touchdown for the game on a 41-yard run.
"I thank the offensive line," Eriksen said. "They were great. They do their job every time. I am fortunate to have them block me and I do the best I can."
Eriksen was the leading rusher for 234 yards on 22 carries. Zezula rushed for 116 yards on nine carries with one touchdown.
Zezula was 11-for-19 in passing for 172 yards. Senior Caine Watlington was on the other end for three of those receptions for 52 yards. Junior Shane Holler also caught three passes for 36 yards. Senior kicker Shane Hynes was 7-for7 on PATs against Lake Orion.
"Obviously Ian had a great game," Richardson said. "But DJ has played outstanding running the ball and throwing the ball. The hogs did a great job up front. Our offensive kids did a great job."
Senior Blake Rehahn and Kaminski led the defense with 11 tackles each. Rehahn had one sack and one of his tackles was for a 7-yard loss. Kaminski had two interceptions and one of his tackles was for a 1-yard loss. Senior Dom Monson had six tackles and five assists for the night.
"We always talk about big players make big plays in big games and that's what happened," Richardson added.
The Wolves host Southfield (7-1) in an OAA Red/White Crossover game on Friday.
"We need to stay healthy and keep working on technique and keep working on getting better," Eriksen said.
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.