Source: Sherman Publications

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Fight starts for Ford Field

by Wendi Reardon

October 26, 2011

Matt Dellinger stretches to catch Mitch Baenziger's pass. Photo by Larry Wright
Players and coaches gathered at Fountains on Sunday to find out their fate for the MHSAA Pre-District game this week.

It was announced the Wolves drew Pontiac, a team they beat earlier in the season, 42-18.

"We just have to be ready and keep it rolling," said senior wide receiver Mike Schwartz.

The Wolves secured their spot in the playoffs with a 38-31 win over rivals Lake Orion last Friday.

"What a great game," said Kurt Richardson, long-time head coach for the varsity football team. "They came through adversity to win this game. It's always such a great battle with Lake Orion. They are a class act team. They fought hard. Our kids could have quit but they fought."

Clarkston was lagging by three points going into the second half, 17-14, courtesy of a 34-yard field goal made by Dragon Jeremy King with a second left before half time.

With two more touchdowns added by Lake Orion and one from senior running back Joey Goss, the teams went into the last quarter, 30-21.

Goss struck on his second 2-yard run in the game, landing in the endzone with 7:45 left and edged the Wolves closer to the Dragons' points on the board.

On Clarkston's next possession, they found themselves on the fourth down with five yards to go to the end zone. They brought in senior kick Alex Barta to tie the score with a 23-yard field goal with 4:51 left in the game.

The defensive line slowed Lake Orion's drive to score again, keeping them at 34 yards from the endzone. After two failed passes Clarkston gained control of the ball with less than two minutes to go in the game.

Senior quarterback Mitch Baenziger pitched a 36-yard throw to Mike Schwartz, putting the boys on the Dragons' 30-yard line.

Baenziger kept the ball on the next play and ran down the middle of the field into the endzone. A PAT from Barta put the Wolves ahead 38-31 with 51:3 left in the game.

"Baenziger was awesome," said Richardson. "This was the first year he was quarterback. He was hurt his entire career and he has just been phenomenal. He was doing great things. Schwartz, with catching, it was a great win for the program."

Baenziger scored the first touchdown with a 19-yard run and Goss scored on a 7-yard run in the first half. Barta kicked five PATs.

The win put the Wolves at a 6-1 record in the OAA Red, sharing the league title with Lake Orion. Both could face each other again in the MHSAA District finals on Nov. 4.

As the boys prepare for their second faceoff against Pontiac, Richardson is counting on the same effort from the team they put in against Lake Orion.

"The offensive line did an outstanding job protecting Baenziger," he said. "Defensively we made the stops when we needed to."

The Wolves host Pontiac on Friday, 7 p.m. at Clarkston High School stadium.