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Returners rally for win over the Highlanders



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Joey Goss carries the ball during the boys’ scrimmage on Aug. 18. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
August 24, 2011 - The Wolves hit the field hard in practice as the countdown continued to wind down to the season opener at Rochester Adams, this Friday.

"Adams is always a great challenge and they are always a great opener," said Kurt Richardson, Clarkston Boys Varsity Football head coach going into his 25th season.

He added the Highlanders are well-coached and don't have a lot of players this year.

"The kids they do have are really good football players," said Richardson. "It will be a challenge for us."

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The Wolves finished last season with a 7-3 record and finished in the Division 1 District Semifinal with a loss to Grand Blanc. From the lost, the team has a lot of returners remembering the losses and wins from 2010.

While the Wolves have most of their starters coming back from last year, Adams has a handful. But Clarkston won't let it stop them from giving their best game on Friday.

"We have to play up to our potential," added Tony Miller, defensive coordinator. "We can be a very good team. We have the right ingredients to go a long way but we have to get Rochester Adams under our belts."

The ingredients include the Wolves' key returners - beginning with linebackers Zach Collins and Matt Dellinger. Then, moving to skilled players in running back Joey Goss, running back and safety Evan Montgomery, wide receiver Mike Schwartz and quarterback Mitch Baenziger.

Another ingredient to the Wolves' success is kicker Alex Barta.

"I don't know if anyone has a better punter and place kicker than Alex," Richardson said. "He is good."

The key players Clarkston will have to watch out for are Highlanders quarterback Tony Annese, along with linebacker Mike Fisher, full back Dave Jagow, wide receiver Kyle Pelayo, running back and linebacker Ben Hart and linebacker Kyle Niswonger.

"They look good and they can execute," Miller added about Rochester Adams. "They aren't as big as they have been in the past but again they execute very well."

Against the Highlanders' offense, Clarkston will find out where the Wolves' defense line skills lie.

"One of the questions that is going to be answered Friday night is going to be how good our defense really is," said Richardson. "At times we looked okay against Orchard Lake St. Mary's in our scrimmage (on Aug. 18) and at other times we didn't."

Miller added expectations on the team are high, especially for this fall season.

"We have to work very hard to achieve those results," he said. "With the expectations high we look forward to achieving the success."

Kick-off is at 7 p.m. on Friday at Rochester Adams High School, 3200 West Tienken Road, Rochester Hills.

"It is going to be a fundamentally strong football game," said Miller. "We are going to have to control the ball and turnovers and again play up to our potential."

Freshman Boys Football and JV Boys Football hold their season opener on Thursday. The freshman team starts at 4:30 p.m., Clarkston Junior High School; JV is at 6:30 p.m. at the Clarkston High School Stadium.

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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