FOOTBALL: Romeo knocks out two-time defending state champ Clarkston

| October 31, 2015 | Comments (1)




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WASHINGTON TWP. — There will be a new state champion in Division 1.

Undersized Romeo used its sterling defense to thwart two-time defending state champion Clarkston, 28-14, in a D-1 pre-district contest Friday at Romeo’s Barnabo Field.

Clarkston played its first game on grass since 2008 — the last time coming in a 37-8 road loss to Romeo in a pre-district that season.

The Wolves (7-3) finished the regular season with a six-game win streak and had won 10-straight postseason games as the two-time defending state champs. Clarkston struggled against Romeo’s stingy defense.

It marked the ninth time in 10 games when the Bulldogs allowed 14 points or less. Romeo has allowed a paltry 6.5 points an outing with four shutouts this season.

“I think we have great chemistry out there, more than last year,” said senior Joey Myers, a 5-foot-7 defensive lineman. “We just go out there and do our part. It does feel great to beat them. We know we’re always going to (play against) guys bigger than us. We’re probably the most undersized team but we always bring the fight to them. That’s what we’ve tried to focus on all season.”

Romeo will play at Lapeer, 36-24 winners Friday over Davison, in the district finals Nov. 6.

Romeo co-coach Curt Rienas feels that his team was a little different this week after losing to Utica Eisenhower in Week 9 by a 17-14 count.

“You could tell in warmups that they had that look in their eyes,” said Reinas.

Brad Tanner’s 3-yard scamper with 8:41 remaining in the third not only gave the Bulldogs a two-score lead, but kicked off a strange turn of events as part of three scores within a 1:13 span.

Clarkston responded when Michael Fluegel countered with a 95-yard kickoff return on the ensuing play to close gap to 14-7 with 8:27 remaining in the third stanza.

Romeo quickly regained the momentum, as Nathan Gorlaski scored on a 71-yard sprint three plays later to put the Bulldogs (9-1) up two scores once again at 21-7.

“That’s a good football team over there,” said Clarkston coach Kurt Richardson. “We made some mistakes. But hats of to them. They stopped our run. Everything we do goes through Nolan Eriksen.

“I tell you what. Those three little guys (up front) are very good football players,” added Richardson. “They play fast and furious. They play football the way it’s meant to be played.”

Hernden joined with Hunberto Flores and Joey Myers to consistently frustrate Clarkston’s run game, leaving them with minus 10 yards on the ground.

“They were a better team,” added Richardson. “They were better offensively. They were better defensively and they out coached us. We made some mistakes. Those (bad snaps) at the start of the second half really hurt. All of a sudden it was second and 42.”

Clarkston did score again with 8:56 remaining on Ian Eriksen’s 1-yard plunge. But the Wolves could not light up the scoreboard again.

Alex Kessman finished 18-for-34 passing for 185 yards for Clarkston. He was picked off twice, including once on the goal line in the second quarter, and also just missed on a 43-yard field goal attempt just before the half.


Romeo capped the scoring when Mitch Heimbuch’s 59-yard catch and run on the near sideline gave the Bulldogs a commanding 28-14 lead with 4:06 left.

“I thought we did a great job coming back after last week,” said Rienas. “We came ready to play. But I was never comfortable until it was over.”

Romeo scored first when Lucas Schimon scored on a 3-yard plunge with 2:18 left in the first quarter.

Paul Hurley racked up 232 passing yards after going 16-for-21 in the air for Romeo. Tanner had six catches for 60 yards for the Bulldogs.

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