STICK’S PICKS: Lake Orion the sole area hopeful for state finals berth

| November 19, 2010 | Comments (2)

BUILT ORION TOUGH: Lake Orion's Dillon Siterlet is part of the Dragons' stingy defense that has allowed only 120 points in 12 games and will knock helmets with Detroit Cass Tech this Saturday in the state semifinals. Courtesty Photo, Ed Maurer,

For the second time in three years, Lake Orion is one win for advancing to the state title game for Division 1 football. This is nothing new for local teams.

Over the past three decades, five different local schools have reached at least the state semifinals in football. Four schools have played on Thanksgiving Weekend and three have walked away with state championships.

The last school from the coverage area to win a state title was Rochester Adams in 2003. The Highlanders defeated Birmingham Brother Rice 28-7 for the Division 2 state crown that year.

Before that, it was Troy taking the Class AA title in 1994 with a 17-0 victory over Bay City Central. Oxford is the third local school to bask in state glory, winning the Class BB state title in 1992 with a 20-13 victory over Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills.

Two years ago, Lake Orion also played in its first D-1 state title game, where it dropped a 26-14 decision to Rockford. Lake Orion made it to the state semifinals round once before the 2008 season, falling to Rockford 48-7 back in 1998.

Rochester Adams also lost in the state semifinals on three occasions — in 2007 to Detroit King (14-7), in 2004 to Muskegon (25-0) and in 2005 to Birmingham Brother Rice (14-7).

That is just a portion of area teams that have shined in the postseason with at least a Final Four run.

Clarkston lost on the final play of the game in the state semifinals last season, falling to Sterling Heights Stevenson, 37-35. It was not the first time the Wolves lost inside the final two minutes in the state semifinals. Clarkston dropped a 14-9 decision to Utica Eisenhower in 1999 and a 17-15 decision to Grand Ledge in 2002. All of those games came in the D-1 tournament field.

As for Troy, the Colts have also had three other long postseason runs. The first was a state came in 1985, when they were the Class A state runner-ups following a 29-3 loss to Traverse City. Troy also lost in the Class A state semifinals to Detroit King in 1990 (19-0) and again in the Division 1 state semifinals to Livonia Stevenson (40-35).

Oxford has reached the Final Four on three other occasions to go along with their title-run of 1992. In 1990, the Wildcats lost in the Class B finals to Dowagiac Union (35-14) and to East Grand Rapids in the 1993 Class BB finals (28-25 in overtime). Oxford also bowed out in the Division 2 state semis to Farmington Harrison back in 1998 (48-7).

Lake Orion is the latest to make a run to the final four, and the 11-1 Dragons have fielded one of its best teams to date. This is the third time in Chris Bell’s 13 seasons as head coach the team has reached the semifinals and this team is well-rounded enough to earn some hardware.

Can this be the Dragons’ year?

Detroit Cass Tech vs. Lake Orion at Troy Athens (Saturday, 1 p.m.): Even with starting quarterback Sean Charette likely on the sidelines with a foot injury, the Dragons will still field a team with many vaunted weapons. Cass Tech does pose some problems for the Dragons, as the Technicians’ defense is as good as any left in the tournament. Can they slow Lake Orion’s multi-attack offense and keep the Dragons’ steady offensive line from helping move the football? Has Cass Tech faced a player with the breakaway speed of Marques Stevenson? And what about the talents of Danny Ney, Zach Zott, Demitri Hudson, Cole Schaenzer and company. There’s plenty of firepower throughout the lineup? Can Cass Tech keep its perfect record in tact? These will all be answered Saturday.

Pick: Lake Orion by 6.

(Stick’s Picks is a legend in his own mind. He can be reached through his boss at

Category: Editor's Column, Lake Orion, Prep Wraps, Publishers Viewpoint

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