FOOTBALL: Adams unleashes ground assault to feast on Oxford, claims first district since 2013

| November 5, 2021 | Comments (0)



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ROCHESTER HILLS  Thanksgiving is not for another three weeks. Unbeaten Rochester Adams still enjoyed quite a feast Friday evening.

The Highlanders captured their first Division 1 district title since 2013 with a resounding 42-7 triumph over visiting Oxford, chewing up the Wildcats at the line of scrimmage and dominating in all phases of the game.

Adams out-gained the Wildcats 322-150 and were in complete control the whole evening, even setting off the running clock early in the second half.

“I think when you expect things like this (a lopsided 42-7 win), you’re nuts,” said Adams head coach Tony Patritto, whose program moved to 27-20 all-time in the postseason. “We are confident in our kids. We love our kids. Our motto has been — ‘give us seven more days together and don’t worry about anything else.’ We love some of those guys (at Oxford). I’ve known some of those guys on the other sideline a long time. We knew it was going to be a really, really tough game, but we also knew we had to take care of our sideline. If we do what we are supposed to, we’re not bad.”

Not bad at all.

After defeating Oxford 24-10 in Week 2 of the regular season, the Highlanders (11-0) were in complete control by scoring on their first six possessions of the game while dodging a missed 36-yard field goal by Oxford’s Jay Cady late in the first quarter.

Adams outgained Oxford by a commanding 259-85 in the first half and held the ball for 33 plays against only 13 plays for the Wildcats. The Highlanders led 28-0 at the half and never allowed the Wildcats to climb back into the contest.

Defensively, Adams sacked Oxford fourth-year starting quarterback Brady Carpenter seven times for minus-41 yards and Oxford only gained 26 positive yards on the ground with all of the negative gains. Carpenter finished 6-for-11 passing for 124 yards and one late touchdown pass.

Alex DeGrieck, who has committed to Division I Harvard University, was in on five of the seven sacks, including three solo sacks to give him 13 on the year.

“We weren’t worried about them (Oxford) that much. We just worried about playing our ‘A’ game,” said DeGrieck. “We knew if we came out and gave all of our effort, we’re perfect with our technique and worked hard, that we could get the ‘W’.”

DeGrieck, a two-way starter, has led the line play all season, where the Highlanders possess experience, size, speed and depth and make life easier for the Highlanders’ skilled athletes.

“So much of the praise goes towards Parker (Picot) and the other offensive stars, but you cannot win without great line play and those guys have done a fantastic job all season,” noted Patritto. “Our offensive and defensive lines were very good again tonight.”

Picot, a junior who has committed to Alabama for baseball, finished with 16 carries for 132 yards and three scores on the ground — all in the first half — and for good measure his only completion in the second half (1-for-3) was a 33-yard touchdown pass to Joey Shallow on the first play of the Highlanders’ first series of the second half.

Picot scored on runs of 18, 11 and 8 yards — he averaged 8.25 yards per carry and had eight carries of 10 or more yards — and simply thrived behind Adams’ talented offensive line of DeGrieck, Andrew Rolfs, Finn Tobiczyk, Nick Stokan and Rocco Orsini. The Highlanders moved the ball almost at will during the first half.

Oxford was able to spoil the shutout when Carpenter hit junior Tate Myre with a 35-yard touchdown strike down the middle with 4:47 remaining in the contest. The damage had already been done, as the Wildcats finished the season 6-5.

“When we were 0-3 and 1-4 we could have very easily packed it in,” sighed Oxford head coach Zach Line, a former multi-sport athlete at Oxford and former NFL player. “But we kept working hard, got better and better, and made the playoffs in a year where you had to qualify for the postseason. We came a long ways this year.”

Oxford simply could not slow down the Highlanders’ attack.

“They do what they do and they do it well,” added Line of Adams. They got out to the early jump and were the more physical team from the start.”

Senior Christian Schomer added 59 yards on eight carries, while senior Griffin Henke had 31 yards on five carries and added a 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Adams junior kicker Colin Time was a perfect 6-for-6 on extra points.

Myre finished the night with four catches for 81 yards — nearly half of the Wildcats’ offensive yards. Senior Salvino Vackaro added 16 carries for 56 yards.

Adams will host defending Division 1 West Bloomfield — 35-21 winners over Novi Detroit Catholic Central in another district final Friday — next week. The Highlanders defeated West Bloomfield 35-17 in Week 1 and the Lakers have not lost since that August beatdown.

Adams enters the regional finals unbeaten for the first time since the 2005 campaign.

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