By Jim Newell
The game against Clarkston was what fans would expect from the longstanding rivalry between the Dragons and the Wolves – a hard-fought, physical matchup with both teams battling until the final whistle.
In the end, the Wolves defeated the Dragons 17-9 on Friday night at Clarkston.
“I am really proud of how our kids competed. Of course, we aren’t happy with the end result, but our kids played their hearts out like they have all year,” said Dragons Head Coach John Blackstock.
“It was the type of game that we expect when we play the guys in the blue and gold. Throw the records out the window, buckle it up tight, and get ready to earn every yard. We knew we had to play our best game of the year to get a win, as they are so well coached they don’t beat themselves.”
The loss drops the Dragons to 2-5 in the OAA Red and 2-6 overall.
Clarkston Head Coach Kurt Richardson praised the Dragons’ effort after the game.
“Hats off to Lake Orion. They are 2-and-5 (in OAA Red) and they played their butts off – that’s a tribute to the kids and their coaches,” Richardson said.
The Dragons special teams unit recovered two Clarkston fumbles, while their defense was physical and relentless throughout the contest.
On offense, Lake Orion was led by Dylan Frank who scored the Dragons only touchdown in the contest, while Parker Blust made a field goal late in the first half.
“I felt offensively we did a nice job of running the ball in a physical way and mixing in enough passing to keep them off balance. Unfortunately, our lack of production in some short yardage situations cost us to leave some points on the field.
“Defensively, I thought we played well, especially defending their strong run game. The big pass play in the 3rd quarter really hurt us. Our special teams coverage units did a nice job of pinning them deep and getting two turnovers,” Blackstock said.
Lake Orion plays Birmingham Seaholm at 7 p.m. Friday at home for the Dragons’ Homecoming – also the last game of the season.
Blackstock knows that Seaholm will present another challenge for the Dragons.
“We expect another great game. They have had a year a lot like ours where they have lost a number of really close games to really good opponents. Both teams are going to want to send their seniors out on a good note and try to use a win to build some momentum going into the off season,” Blackstock said. “
“We are hoping that our student section continues to show up and bring the energy that they have all year long. Our guys really feed off of that energy.
“Last year we played them in an exciting game where we blocked a field goal late to give us an opportunity to win it in over time. Seaholm runs a veer offense where they will try to establish the run game and then try to throw it over the top with their play action passing game if your defensive backs start to get their eyes in the backfield. We need to play assignment football and be great at doing our individual jobs every play,” Blackstock said.
“Defensively, they are a multiple defense that plays aggressively. We will need to be physical upfront in the run game and use the passing game to make them pay if they commit too many men to stop our run.”
Clarkston News Sports Writer Wendi Reardon Price contributed to this article.