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Gridiron heroes wrap season against Bobcats

Zach Collins finishes off a Grand Blanc player. Photo by John Azzopardi (click for larger version)
November 03, 2010 - The Wolves lined up and hugged their football coaches one by one under the bright lights on Friday.

After a long battle they lost the MHSAA Pre-District playoffs to Grand Blanc, 38-14.

"It is what it is, they beat us." said long-time Clarkston Head Football Coach Kurt Richardson.

The boys ended the season with a 7-3 record, finishing with two losses in the last two weeks.

"It was a weird season," Richardson added. "It was because of all the injuries. There were a lot of things that went on. They kids went in there, they hung together and they had a decent year."

Clarkston gained ground at the beginning of the game on a 69-yard run from quarterback Brenden Newvine. He was forced out of bounds on Grand Blanc's 11-yard line.

The Wolves fumbled the ball on the next play and the Bobcats gained possession. Clarkston's defense led attack keeping them from crossing the 50-yard line.

The momentum had already begun for the Bobcats and they scored two touchdowns before the first quarter closed. They scored on a 35-field goal with three minutes left in the first half.

Clarkston put in junior quarterback Mitch Baenziger, coming back from a hip flexor injury earlier in the season.

"He did a great job," said Richardson. "He hasn't done much since he got hurt. It shows his athleticism."

He led the boys as they made another attempt to get on the board.

They closed the possession with 50 seconds left in the half.

Baenziger handed the ball to junior running back Evan Montgomery. Montgomery ran up the middle two yards, landing in the endzone. A PAT from junior Alex Barta put the boys on the board for seven points.

"I thought 'we are going to be just fine,'" said Tony Miller, defensive coordinator.

Grand Blanc scored one more time with eight seconds to go before both teams headed into half-time, 24-7.

The Wolves scored again at the end of the game with 2:40 to go.

Newvine handed the ball off to sophomore Ben Kaminsky. He ran one yard and through the Bobcats' defense block to score his touchdown. Barta kicked for the PAT.

"I have known Kurt for a long time," said Joe Delaney, Grand Blanc's head coach. "He runs a heck of a program. We have been here twice and have been unsuccessful. We knew we had to play our very best in order to beat them. We were fortunate."

Returning players were back in the weightroom on Monday with the loss still fresh on their minds.

"Hopefully they understand the need to get bigger, stronger and faster," said Richardson.

"I expect the kids to make to commitment to be back on top next year," Miller added.

" That is always the expectation here. We, as coaches, will work just as hard as the kids."

The team returns most of their offense and defense starting lineups. They lose Max Collins, Justin Baetz, Chris Canada, Steve Carpenter, Ty Foltz, Sean Calvano and Phil Sims.

"We have a lot of kids coming back but it won't matter unless they have a great off season," said Richardson.

"We think the future is bright," added Miller. "We just have to prove that."

Grand Blanc head to Lake Orion this Friday for the District playoffs at 7 p.m.

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.
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