BY JAKE LOURIM
TROY — The Troy football team was driving. Inside Clarkston territory, the Colts had a chance to knock off the No. 1 team in the state.
But then there was Ian Eriksen.
“He’s got the capability to go the distance any time he touches the ball,” Clarkston coach Kurt Richardson said, whose team topped the Associated Press Division 1 polls again this week. “They did a great job of stuffing him, stuffing him, stuffing him, and then he broke one.”
Clarkston pulled away from a 6-0 halftime lead to beat Troy 28-0 on Friday in OAA Red Division play.
The Colts’ defense was stellar in the first half, holding Clarkston under 100 yards. They started to drive, but twice Clarkston dug in and stopped the possession. Eriksen scored on the next play.
“They’ve got a great offensive line, and he has great vision,” Troy coach Gary Griffith said. “When we did what we were supposed to, in the first half, we gave up six points. And that was the first drive of the game. Other times, we had two guys in one gap and somebody not in a gap they were supposed to (be in).”
Troy forced a three-and-out on the first possession of the second half. Troy got to the 30-yard line before Clarkston picked off quarterback Jay Darish. Eriksen scored on an 81-yard run the next play.
The Colts drove 72 yards on 17 plays — helped out by a roughing the kicker penalty — but stalled at the 7. Clarkston batted down Darish’s pass in the end zone on fourth down. Eriksen scampered 93 yards to make it 21-0 in the fourth quarter.
“It breaks your back,” Richardson said.
His last touchdown was from 62 yards, giving him four on the night.
“[We were] hoping they wouldn’t give him the ball,” Griffith said. “Because when he got the ball, we had a hard time with him.”
The Troy defense was solid otherwise. The Wolves scored on their first series after a long punt return and then moved to the Colts’ 11 on the second possession. Troy stopped them there, forcing a missed field goal to keep it a 6-0 game.
Eriksen rushed for only 56 yards without the three long touchdowns.
“The Troy kids played awesome,” Richardson said. “They gave us everything we could handle.
“They were flying to the ball. They were playing good, solid football, coming after us.”
Offensively, Troy moved the ball against a tight defense. Senior running back Terrance Cherry finished with 104 yards and junior quarterback Jay Darish threw for 80 with an interception.
Twice, the Colts went 14 plays or more but came up empty. The first was on their second possession, when Darish was sacked at the 38 and moved out of field goal range.
The loss puts Troy (4-3, 3-3) into a situation where it must win to have a chance at the playoffs. The Colts host Athens next week before an OAA crossover matchup in Week 9. That opponent could be Farmington Hills Harrison, Oxford or Southfield.
After last year’s 31-13 loss at Troy Athens, Griffith said his team will have one thought in mind: revenge.
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org)