November 20, 2013 - Excitement fills the community and it can be found on the football practice fields as the gridiron heroes prepare for the MHSAA Semifinals, set for Saturday against Flint Carman-Ainsworth, 1 p.m.
From left are Blake Rehahn, Taylor Winiger, Alex Salim and Eric Dumas with the MHSAA Football Regional trophy. Photo by Larry Wright (click for larger version)
It is an excitement long-time head coach Kurt Richardson hopes the Clarkston Varsity Football team will take with them onto the field on Saturday.
"They are one win away from the state finals," he said. "There is a lot of excitement. None of the boys have gone to the semifinals. We haven't gone since 2009."
The excitement began when the boys won the MHSAA Regional championship on Saturday against Rochester Adams, 56-28, the only team the Wolves lost to this season.
"Offensively we were pretty good," said Richardson. "Adams had a lot of turnovers and we took advantage of them. Overall we played pretty decent."
The Wolves started the lead early when senior leading rusher Ian Eriksen scored on a 1-yard three minutes into the game, finishing an 8-play 81-yard drive.
Clarkston didn't have to wait long for possession of the ball as the Highlanders fumbled on the kickoff. The Wolves recovered the ball on Adams' 19-yard line.
Eriksen struck again three plays later on a 2-yard run as the clock stopped at 8:09 left in the quarter.
The next scoring opportunity started when the Highlanders fumbled the ball and the Wolves took over on their own 30-yard line.
Junior quarterback DJ Zezula threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Tim Cason, putting the score at 20-0 with six minutes to go in the quarter.
"Adams made some mistakes and we took advantage of them," Richardson added.
Both teams scored twice in the second quarter with Eriksen scoring on a 11-yard run two minutes into the quarter. They also successfully completed a 2-point conversion.
With 33 seconds left Zezula connected a 6-yard touchdown pass to junior running back Austin Egler, putting the score, 35-14.
Senior wide receiver Caine Watlington opened the second half with a touchdown when he recovered a fumble in the the end zone.
The Wolves furthered the lead when Zezula threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Cason.
Senior defensive back Reid Kaminski struck during the third quarter when he intercepted Rochester Adams's pass and scored a touchdown off of it, putting the score 56-14.
"He has been outstanding," Richardson added about Kaminski's performance all season. "He is one of our leading tacklers."
Zezula threw 11-for-12, including the 2-point conversion for 244 yards and three touchdowns.
"He was outstanding," said Richardson. "He hit the first one and then he was red hot after that."
The leading receivers were Cason on four receptions for 123 yards and Egler with two receptions for 86 yards.
"Egler caught the ball really well," Richardson added. "He has been making progress."
Eriksen was the leading rusher for 89 yards on 14 carries. Kicker Shane Hynes went 6-for-7 on PAT attempts.
Senior outside linebacker Blake Rehahn led defense with seven tackles. Kaminski had five tackles. Junior linebacker DJ Rogers, senior linebacker Dom Monson, and senior defensive back Jacob Armstrong had four tackles.
The Wolves head to Lake Orion High School at 1 p.m. where they will take on Carman-Ainsworth who beat Hudsonville for the regional title, 27-20. They are also 11-1 with their lone loss was against Brother Rice.
"They look athletic," said Richardson. "They are very physical and they have an outstanding quarterback."
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.