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Dragon defense prevails in harsh weather

Nick Vogelmeier, junior, corrals the Coltís leading rusher enroute to Orionís 17 - 7 win last Friday. Photo by G. Ouzounian (click for larger version)
October 05, 2011 - Lake Orion weathered plenty of wind and cold rain en route to beating the Troy Colts last Friday, 17-7. The win ushered in the second half of the Dragons' football season against increasingly difficult opponents.

"Weather presented us with a few challenges, but we've played in worse conditions," said Head Coach Chris Bell. "Both teams had to deal with it and we just had to make the weather a non-issue.

"On offense, we really stressed ball security and were very happy with no turnovers."

Lake Orion kept the ball on the ground most of the night. Junior running back Jacob Miller carried 26 times for 126 yards, including a first-quarter touchdown.

The poor weather conditions did limit the Dragons' passing game, somewhat. Senior quarterback Sean Charette finished 8-23 for 146 yards with a second-quarter 23-yard touchdown pass to junior wideout Chaz Miller. He finished with four catches for 64 yards. Senior Robert Aiello caught three passes for 64 yards.

But it was running back Miller's 47-yard run in the fourth quarter that set up a key field goal that put the team ahead by two scores.

Bell praised Miller's running, saying he is a "workhorse who gains three or four positive yards on every run."

Lake Orion's defense, meanwhile, came up big in the second half to slow down Troy's rushing offense. On the opening play of the fourth quarter, the Dragons stuffed the Colts' fourth-and-one try at Lake Orion's 20-yard line. Later, with Troy driving inside the 20 again and time running out, the Dragons recovered a fumble on a Troy quarterback option play to effectively end the game.

"Our defense played really played well, especially in the fourth quarter," Bell said. "We made some adjustments at the half and tightened down on Troy's running attack."

Up next for Lake Orion this Friday are the Troy Athens Red Hawks, the Dragons' Homecoming opponents. Troy Athens sports an identical 5-1 record, having beaten West Bloomfield, 27-17, last week. Bell said his team has some work to do before the game, as Troy Athens features some "big talent".

"Troy Athens is huge upfront - they are much bigger than us physically," said Bell. "They have three big, talented running backs and live and die by the run, which we're going to have to stop.

"We're going to have to control the ball and put points on the board."

There is a lot on the line for Lake Orion Ė a win gives the Dragons at least a share of the league title, plus a sixth victory guarantees a spot in the playoffs.

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