Source: Sherman Publications

Dragons,Wolves fight to bitter end

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

October 26, 2011

Two county football heavyweights took their best shots at each other on Oct. 21, with Lake Orion visiting Clarkston in their annual season-ending rivalry.

The back-and-forth game saw the Wolves make big plays in the fourth quarter to rally from ten points down and win, 38-31.

“We did a decent job with their running game, but their quarterback played very well,” said Head Coach Chris Bell. “We had opportunities to put the game away on offense and defense at the end and we failed to capitalize. Against good teams like Clarkston, you’re going to get beat like that.”

The two teams traded touchdowns in the first quarter. Lake Orion’s equalizing score came on a 15-yard touchdown pass from senior Sean Charette to junior Chaz Miller. In the second stanza, the Dragons went on top with a short touchdown run by junior Jacob Miller. Lake Orion added a late field goal as the quarter ended to take a 17-14 lead into halftime.

Lake Orion led 31-21 going into the fourth quarter thanks to Chaz Miller’s second touchdown catch of the game (four catches, 46 yards) and another by Robert Aiello (five catches, 84 yards).

The Dragons’ lead evaporated during the final quarter, however. With the score tied at 31 with about six minutes to go, Lake Orion moved the ball 40 yards but the drive stalled on downs. Led by its elusive quarterback, Clarkston then scored on a short drive to take the lead with only 73 seconds left.

The Dragons could not move the ball on their final series. The Wolves scored a disheartening 17 unanswered points to take the game and secure themselves a guaranteed playoff spot.

Both teams finished the regular season with 6-3 records (6-1 in the OAA Red).

Bell said before the game that these were two evenly matched teams and the final game statistics bore this out. Each team finished with 24 first downs on 61 offensive plays.

The Dragons rushed for 164 yards, while the Wolves ran for 173. Lake Orion passed for 185 yards; Clarkston 228. Neither team reorded a sack. There were only seven pelnalties the whole game (four for Clarkston and three on Lake Orion). Charette finished 12-26, for 185 yards. Jacob Miller ran for 85 yards with Zack Arnold pitching in 40 yards on the ground and Corey Ester adding 22 rushing.

If both teams win their opening round games in district play, they will meet yet again in the storied rivalry, one of Oakland County’s best.

First things first, however, the Dragons will begin the playoffs this Friday at home against Walled Lake Central, which also finished 6-3. The Vikings won last week, beating Westland John Glenn, 35-10. (Clarkston plays Pontiac.)