FOOTBALL: Top-ranked Clarkston rolls by Oxford

| September 26, 2014 | Comments (0)



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OXFORD — In the midst of an 18-game win streak, Clarkston’s DJ Zezula feels the Wolves have not fired on all cylinders just yet.

That’s a scary thought.

The Division 1 top-ranked Wolves took advantage of a couple of Oxford turnovers and rolled to a convincing 42-14 victory over sixth-ranked Oxford in a battle of OAA Red Division unbeatens and state-ranked schools.

“Last year we lost that first game, then we kept getting better and better and we peaked at the right time and won the state championship,” smiled Zezula, a third-year starter at quarterback who finished 10-for-16 passing for 174 yards and four TD passes. “We are playing some good football, but we haven’t played our best yet.”

That could be bad news for the rest of the Wolves’ schedule. Clarkston is now in the driver’s seat for its third straight OAA Red Division title.

Clarkston (5-0, 4-0) amassed 392 yards of total offense and scored on six drives, while holding Oxford (4-1, 3-1) to one scoring drive in each half and 369 yards of offense.

“To put up 42 points on a well-coached team, that’s impressive,” said Clarkston coach Kurt Richardson. “We were missing a couple of starters.”

Oxford, making its first appearance in the OAA-Red after jointing the OAA mega conference in 2010, has posted winning seasons in 33 of the past 34 campaigns. The Wildcats could not find an answer to Clarkston’s well-oiled machine on both sides of scrimmage.

The Wolves, who picked off two first-half passes, benefitted from Cole Chewins’ interception at the 50 and ensuing carry down to the Oxford 9. Three plays later, Zezula connected with Shane Holler with an 8-yard TD strike for a 21-7 advantage with 22.5 seconds left in the second half.

Holler, in just his second game of the season, finished with seven catches for 67 yards and three touchdown catches.

“I tell you what, our receivers have been impressive all season long and having Shane in there gives us five (quality) receivers,” noted Richardson. “We were good last season, but we are even (deeper) with receivers this year.

“And Chewins’ play was a big turning point for us,” continued Richardson. “That gave us the (21-7 ) lead at the half.”

Oxford just missed a touchdown the previous play, as Glacier Wallington’s heave to Dallas Pruitt was just inches long. The 6-foot-8 Chewins’ clutch interception helped Clarkston pull away in a hurry.

“That was the whole game,” said Oxford coach Bud Rowley. “He turned whole thing around. When he made the play with 40 seconds to go, he changed the whole thing. That was a great play by the kid.”

Clarkston defeated Oxford by a narrow, 30-27, margin in last year’s Division 1 pre-district, the first step in the Wolves’ run to their first state title. The Wildcats defeated Clarkston, 45-28, in the OAA crossover game in 2011.

Clarkston lost in the D-1 regional finals two years ago to Rockford, then dropped its season-opener to Rochester Adams last August.  The Wolves have not lost since that contest.

Zezula, a third-year starter, orchestrated six touchdown drives, and helped give Clarkston a 7-0 lead, leading a nine-play, 66-yard drive which ended with a 19-yard TD run by junior Nolan Eriksen (11 carries, 98 yards).

Wallington, a fourth-year starter, handed off to John Patrick for a 1-yard plunge with 9:48 left in the second frame to knot the score at 7-7.

Clarkston went ahead for good when Centrus Williams punched through the wall on a 16-yard scamper, ending an eight-play, 64-yard scoring drive.

Up by two scores at the half, Zezula hooked  up with Holler for a 21-yard TD pass with 10:09 left in the third, good for a 28-7 advantage.

Holler hauled in another 5-yard strike from Zezula with 2:24 left in the third for a 35-7 lead, while the Wolves’ final scoring drive was capped by Jacob Fisher’s 75-yard catch and run for pay dirt with 9:59 to play, kicking off the running clock.

Anson Rowley scored 5-yard run late in the contest for Oxford’s other score.

Scott Stubenrauch finished with 25 carries for 116 yards, while Wallington was 8-for-15 passing for 204 yards for Oxford. Adam Schlicht had five catches for 85 yards for the Wildcats.

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