In Play with Tom Markowski

Carleton scores three TDs including game-winner in OT, Dakota defeats Stevenson 35-28 for MAC Red title

Football   | Tom Markowski

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Macomb – Macomb Dakota has had an up-and-down season. A big victory, such as in its opener against Clarkston, was soon followed by a disappointing loss to Warren Mott. And then there was the homecoming loss to Romeo two weeks ago.

Dakota faced adversity again on Friday as it trailed Sterling Heights Stevenson 28-21 with 8:34 left. A Dakota fumble set up Jared Cutlip’s 26-yard touchdown and Stevenson looked as if it would win the Macomb Area Conference Red Division title.

But Dakota persevered. Brandon Pittman’s 1-yard touchdown run tied the game at 28-28 for Dakota with 2:11 remaining.

The game went to overtime tied at 28-28 and, on first down, Kaiser Carleton ran 10 yards for a touchdown, his third of the game, to give Dakota the lead.

Stevenson had possession and on fourth down from the 4 quarterback Frankie D’Ascenzo was stopped a yard shot of the end zone by linebacker Chase Fulco and Dakota held on for a 35-38 victory over Stevenson.

Dakota (6-2, 5-0) clinched the division title with the win and Stevenson (6-2, 4-1) will finish in second with one regular season game remaining.

“That was a heckuva play,” Dakota coach Mike Giannone said of Fulco’s tackle. “I had no idea what happened. I couldn’t see who made the tackle.

“Yeah, we were down. It was 28-21 and I asked the guys if they wanted to be a man.

“It has been an up-and-down year. We won the MAC championship and we’re in the playoffs. Today’s an up day.”   

Pittman, a fullback who didn’t carry the ball in the first half, had four carries for 25 yards on the 80-yard drive that resulted in the tying touchdowns. A key play on the drive was Brett Droski’s 35-yard pass to Jaylen Hall on a second and 21.

Dakota forced Stevenson to punt on the next series and took possession on its 40.

Dakota moved the ball down to the 9-yard line but its field goal try from 26 yards hit the right upright and was no good.

“We just kept our composure,” Carleton said. “We stayed as a family.

“I can’t do it by myself. My line did the job. Sonny (Cooper, a running back and defensive back), Pittman, they all did the dirty work.

“(Stevenson) is a good team. They’re physical. In our two losses we didn’t play our game. We can’t sleep on Grosse Pointe South.”

Dakota plays South next week.

Kaiser had 17 carries for 85 yards and Cooper made an important tackle on third down in overtime, and his 2-yard run tied the game at 14-14 late in the first half.

Dakota started fast and finished the first half in a rush but the score was still tied, 14-14.

Dakota drove 72 yards in 11 plays on the game’s initial possession and scored on Carleton’s 7-yard touchdown run.

The Cougars went 80 yards in 10 plays to score on their last possession of the half on Cooper‘s touchdown

In between Stevenson held Dakota to 27 yards and scored twice, on a big play and on a long run.

Andrew Detmers ran 57 yards for a touchdown through the middle of the Cougars line to tie the score at 7-7 with 59 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Titans then went 88 yards in 12 plays to take a 14-7 lead. D’Ascenzo had a run of 30 yards and Levi Jackson ran a reverse 28 yards to help set up Cutlip’s 5-yard touchdown run with 5:50 left.

Stevenson rushed for 329 yards with Detmers leading the way with 151 on 14 carries.