image
Palace Chrysler-Jeep

Incredible finish to 12-1 season



Football4086_Wright
shadow
Tyler Scarlett (10), Dakota Bender (2) and Daniel Davis (58) celebrate gaining enough yardage for a first down. Photo by Larry Wright (click for larger version)
November 25, 2009 - Ford Field beckoned with only 18 seconds left in the semifinal playoffs when the air began to change.

Clarkston senior Dakota Bender lost the ball at the 38-yardline. A chill went over the Wolves side of the field - the referees ruled the drop a fumble. Wolves held the line, forcing Sterling Heights Stevenson to a fourth down with only eight seconds left on the clock.

Titans snapped to quarterback Jason Fracassa, who grabbed at the ball and fell to the ground. As the Wolves celebrated what looked like a fumble, the head referee called it a clean spike and put four-tenths of a second back on the clock.

Four-tenths of a second was enough time for Fracassa to throw the ball to Dylan Cooper in the endzone for the win, 37-35.

shadow
shadow
"I couldn't be prouder of our kids," said Wolves Head Coach Kurt Richardson. "They deserved to win that game. It was a classic high school football game. Probably the best six bucks anyone has ever spent. They handled adversity, kept struggling to come back. Kids playing hurt, kids playing in spots they normally don't play a lot. It was an outstanding performance by our kids. I feel absolutely terrible for them."

Titans Head Coach Rick Bye felt for Clarkston after the game ended.

"I know how it feels," he said. "A year ago we were beaten by Lake Orion in the last second of the game. I feel terrible for the Clarkston players and coaches because we have been there. Clarkston played an unbelievable game. They are great kids and well-coached."

Both teams remained scoreless into the second quarter, when the Titans added two touchdowns and two PATs.

The Wolves put themselves on the board with 7:23 remaining in the first half. Quarterback Tyler Scarlett handed the ball to Bender. Bender threw a 33-yard pass to Chris Canada in the endzone to score a touchdown.

Six minutes later Bender dove into the endzone to score his own touchdown on a 10-yard run. Two PATs from Brian Benway tied the score at 14 with the Titans.

Stevenson closed the first half with a 27 field goal made by David Brown, 17-14.

"They kept fighing, biting and scratching and didn't let things get down," said Richardson.

The Wolves capitalized on their possession at the beginning of the third quarter and a 37-yard touchdown pass from Scarlett to Dustin Gamble put the boys in the lead. They kick for PAT was blocked and the boys settled at 20-17.

Stevenson recovered scoring two touchdowns to put the Wolves 11 points behind going into the final quarter.

With nine minutes remaining in the game Scarlett connect a 3-yard pass to Clark in the endzone. Scarlett threw again to Bender in the endzone for a 2-point conversion.

Clarkston took the lead with 3:36 Clarkston had scored the lead with 3:36 remaining in the game after Quarterback Tyler Scarlett ran the ball into the endzone on a 5-yard run a kick from Brian Benway put the boys, 35-31.

Titans scored one more touchdown as the game closed.

Kicker Brian Benway was 3-4 on PATs.

Scoring for Stevenson was D.J Mershman, Jason Fracassa, Mark Kovalcik, Marcus Beaurem and Cooper.

"The offensive line did a great job to put that many point up on the board - Tyler was outstanding, Dakota played his ass off and Dustin was very good," Richardson said the standouts for the night. "It was great to have Derek Booker back. He was playing hurt and did a great job for us."

Richardson noted it is sad to see the season end.

"These kids were so much fun to coach and I think that's one of the reasons why I am depressed why the season is over," said Richardson. "We don't have the daily contact with those kids anymore. We always get close to the players during the season but when the season goes this long it becomes everyday. You look forward to going to practice and seeing them - watch them do football stuff and watch them be kids, too."

The seniors led the way for all of the players - beginning with training in the weight room last year and passing on their knowledge to the younger players.

"I sincerely hope the younger players picked up some of things the seniors have shown," said Richardson.

The team loses 25 seniors and ended the season 12-1.

"I couldn't be prouder of our kids," said Wolves Head Coach Kurt Richardson. "They deserved to win that game. It was a classic high school football game. Probably the best six bucks anyone has ever spent. Our kids handled adversity, kept struggling to come back. Kids playing hurt, kids playing in spots they normally don't play a lot. It was an outstanding performance by our kids. I feel absolutely terrible for them."

Titans Head Coach Rick Bye felt for Clarkston after the game ended.

"I know how it feels," he said. "A year ago we were beaten by Lake Orion in the last second of the (semi-final) game. I feel terrible for the Clarkston players and coaches because we have been there. Clarkston played an unbelievable game. They are great kids and well-coached."

Both teams remained scoreless going into the second quarter, until the Titans added two touchdowns and two PATs.

The Wolves put themselves on the board with 7:23 remaining in the first half. Quarterback Tyler Scarlett handed the ball to Bender. Bender threw a 33-yard pass to Chris Canada in the endzone to score a touchdown.

Six minutes later Bender dove into the endzone to score his own touchdown on a 10-yard run. Two PATs from Brian Benway tied the score at 14 with the Titans.

Stevenson closed the first half with a 27 yard field goal made by David Brown, 17-14.

"They kept fighing, biting and scratching and didn't let things get down," said Richardson.

The Wolves capitalized on their possession at the beginning of the third quarter and a 37-yard touchdown pass from Scarlett to Dustin Gamble put the boys in the lead. The kick for PAT was blocked and the boys settled at 20-17.

Stevenson recovered scoring two touchdowns to put the Wolves 11 points behind going into the final quarter.

With nine minutes remaining in the game Scarlett connected a 3-yard pass to Clark in the endzone. Scarlett threw again to Bender in the endzone for a 2-point conversion.

Clarkston took the lead with 3:36 Clarkston remaining in the game after Quarterback Tyler Scarlett ran the ball into the endzone on a 5-yard run a kick from Brian Benway put the boys, 35-31.

Titans scored one more touchdown as the game closed.

Kicker Brian Benway was 3-4 on PATs.

Scoring for Stevenson was D.J Mershman, Jason Fracassa, Mark Kovalcik, Marcus Beaurem and Cooper.

"The offensive line did a great job to put that many points up on the board - Tyler was outstanding, Dakota played his butt off and Dustin was very good," Richardson said about the standouts for the night. "It was great to have Derek Booker back. He was playing hurt and did a great job for us."

He noted it is sad to see the season end.

"These kids were so much fun to coach and I think that's one of the reasons why I am depressed why the season is over," said Richardson. "We don't have the daily contact with those kids anymore. We always get close to the players during the season but when the season goes this long it becomes everyday. You look forward to going to practice and seeing them - watch them do football stuff and watch them be kids, too."

The seniors led the way for all of the players - beginning with training in the weight room last year and passing on their knowledge to the younger players.

"I sincerely hope the younger players picked up some of things the seniors have shown," said Richardson.

Twenty-five seniors on the team are set to graduate next June.

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.
print
Print
email
Email Link
share
Share
The Oxford Leader
SPI Subscriptions
Site Search