BY JAKE LOURIM
TROY — Duane Losey told his son, senior Justin Losey, that Justin would get the majority of the carries Friday against West Bloomfield.
Losey had already played wide receiver, quarterback, cornerback, safety, kick returner and punt returner. But the Colts needed someone at running back this season.
Turned out he could do that too — carry the football.
“I saw a kid who was very athletically smart,” said Troy offensive coordinator Duane Losey, Justin’s dad. “He understands the blocking schemes. He understands how defenses pursue.”
The senior headed a powerful Troy ground game as the Colts beat West Bloomfield on Homecoming Friday, 33-23, in OAA Red Division play.
Losey carried 23 times for 174 yards and a touchdown, Terrance Cherry rushed nine times for 61 yards and three scores and Torrance Cherry, returning from a concussion, added a 36-yard touchdown run.
Troy coach Gary Griffith also credited junior Davis Strobridge, who played both ways, stopping West Bloomfield as a linebacker and creating holes as a blocking back.
It was Losey’s first game with significant running time and touches. In Week 1, he switched to quarterback at halftime when starter Jay Darish got hurt. The next week, he injured his shoulder in the first half. He was hurt until last week and finally got a full workload Friday.
“It’s fine,” Losey said of his shoulder. “I took a shot tonight, but it’s (okay). You’ve got to push through it.”
Torrance Cherry returned Wednesday from a concussion he suffered at Lake Orion last week.
West Bloomfield started to come back in the last two minutes against the Troy backups. But when the Colts were in trouble, they just went back to the ground game, passing only once in the second half.
The Lakers (1-5, 1-4) hung around, gaining possession to start the fourth quarter trailing only 19-10. The Troy defense held, however, forcing a three-and-out. After a seven-play drive (that chewed up four minutes, Torrance Cherry scampered into the end zone.
“(Losey and the Cherry twins) are different runners,” Duane Losey said. “Justin seems to set things up more, and the Cherry twins seem to create more.
“It’s nice having three of them, though.”
All of them have been banged up at some point, along with Darish and running backs Joe Leonard and Quincy Walker. Losey doesn’t recall an injury situation like it in 28 years.
If a 16-point lead wasn’t enough, Troy junior safety Danny Wunderlich grabbed his fourth interception of the season on the third play of the ensuing drive. He returned it 34 yards to the West Bloomfield 10, and Terrance Cherry punched it in on the next play.
West Bloomfield scored on its next two drives, separated by a Troy fumble, to pull within 10 with 18 seconds left, one of them a wheel route down the left sideline.
“Big plays are absolutely killing us,” Griffith said. “If you continue to allow that to happen, there’s no way you can get to where we want to go. Those have to be eliminated.”
“If somebody goes four yards, four yards, four yards down the field and you can’t stop them, you go ‘Well, OK, maybe next time,’” Griffith said. “But when you stop ‘em, stop ‘em, 80-yard touchdown, you go ‘What in the world are we doing?’”
A two-point conversion would have brought the Lakers within a score, but the Colts sniffed it out.
After the first drive, however, the game didn’t look like it would be so close.
Troy forced a three-and-out on the first possession, then trudged 63 yards in 12 plays, eating up 5:48 off the clock. Losey carried six times for 32 yards and caught an 18-yard pass from Darish on third-and-12, while Terrance Cherry added a two-yard touchdown run.
After another quick three-and-out, the Homecoming crowd appeared set to carry the Colts to an easy victory. West Bloomfield never went away and didn’t allow any more points in the first half, heading to the locker room down 6-3.
“At times, we blocked pretty well tonight, but it wasn’t in the first half,” Griffith said.
Duane Losey said the offense will have to be more consistent in a big game next week. The
Colts head into Clarkston at 4-2, needing wins in two of their last three — at to-ranked Clarkston, vs. Troy Athens and at an OAA team to be determined — to make the playoffs.
(Jake Lourim is a senior at Troy High School and a member of the S.H.P. Media Group / www.northoaklandsports.com Student Correspondence Program. He is publisher of website www.troycoltsportsupdate.com and a member of the Troy school newspaper editorial staff. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com)
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