FOOTBALL: Clarkston slowly pulls away from Rochester |
CLARKSTON — It’s no secret that Clarkston’s bread-and-butter this season is its large and physical offensive and defensive lines. Even missing some key starters from that group Friday and losing two more to injuries during its game with visiting Rochester didn’t seem to detour the Wolves from their league championship quest.
Clarkston simply wore down Rochester, 24-0, Friday night in a battle of OAA Red Division unbeatens after holding just a six-point lead at the half.
“I think we wore them down a little bit. We didn’t make any huge adjustments other than execute better (in the second half),” said Clarkston coach Kurt Richardson. “I thought we could handle them defensively. We didn’t think they could score much on us. “We were missing three linemen to start (the game) and we lost a couple of more in the game,” added Richardson. “We lost three guys, all centers, but we had others step in and do a great job. I have to give the kids credit. There were some kids that haven’t played much offense until tonight and they stepped up.”
Clarkston held Rochester to a mere 57 total yards in the first half, including five plays for negative yardage, but struggled to move the ball on its own. The Wolves (3-0, 2-0) could only muster a nine-play, 61-yard drive that was capped by junior Ian Eriksen’s 4-yard plunge. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score just 6-0 at the break. Clarkston benefited from a long field goal and a 40-yard punt return down inside Rochester’s 10 in the third quarter to break the game open. Shane Hynes’ mammoth, wind-aided, school-record 53-yard boot that split the uprights with distance gave Clarkston a 9-0 cushion with 6:51 left in the third quarter.
"That was a game-changer. That was a big one,” said Richardson of Hynes’ field goal. The 40-yard punt return by Jared Yaroch back down to the Rochester’s 6-yard-line set up Clarkston’s next