West Bloomfield pulls away from Oxford for fourth straight win
West Bloomfield – After opening the season as one of the top teams in the state, West Bloomfield unexpectedly dropped its first two games of the season and found itself facing a bit of an uphill battle for the remainder of the 2017 season.
But since their 0-2 start, the Lakers have rebounded in a big way, rattling off three straight wins entering Thursday night’s home game against Oxford.
West Bloomfield struggled at times in the first half and was tied with Oxford, 27-27, late in the second quarter. The Lakers scored the final 30 points as they picked up their fourth straight win, 57-27, in an Oakland Activities Association Red Division game.
West Bloomfield coach Ron Bellamy said that he was pleased with the way his defense bounced back from its poor start, and also had high praise for his offensive unit, which totaled nearly 600 yards of offense.
“We had to make adjustments, (Oxford) had a good game plan,” he said. “They watched the (Rochester) Adams game and they took some things from the Adams playbook that we hadn’t necessarily seen on film and they did a good job. I was most proud that we made the adjustments and the kids responded and they didn’t score again in the second half. Outside of the two turnovers for us on offense, I was happy with the way we played – we scored 57 points, so you’re always encouraged by that. We have still yet to play a full game and that’s what I’m looking for out of our team right now.”
After Oxford (1-5, 1-4) tied the game at 27-27 with about five minutes left in the second quarter on a Devon Hudson 26-yard touchdown run, West Bloomfield (4-2, 4-1) would regain the lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Bryce Veasley with 1:49 left before halftime to put the Lakers ahead, 34-27. West Bloomfield would add a Nick O’Shea field goal to take a 37-27 lead at halftime.
The senior signal caller credited his team’s senior leadership for helping lead West Bloomfield’s turnaround after its 0-2 start.
“The senior’s leadership,” he said. “Every day coming in and working hard and competing against each other, making each other better and finishing games.”
West Bloomfield scored on its second offensive play of the second half as Collin Heard took off on a 31-yard touchdown run to push the West Bloomfield lead to 43-27.
Veasley finished with 317 yards passing on 16-of-24 passing and one touchdown. He also rushed for 56 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries to pace the West Bloomfield offense. Heard had 161 yards rushing and 102 yards receiving.
After the Lakers' defense allowed 27 points in the first 19 minutes, their defense dominated the second half as Oxford advanced into West Bloomfield territory just twice in the second half.
West Bloomfield put the game out of reach when the Lakers capitalized on Nick Seidel’s second interception, and seventh of the season, as Donovan Edwards had a 10-yard touchdown run out with 5:35 left to play, inceasing the lead to 50-27.
West Bloomfield standout linebacker Lance Dixon said that the reason for the turnaround over the past four weeks has simply been team unity as he said the Lakers have played more like a team since beginning 0-2.
“It’s been a good turnaround,” he said. “We’ve been playing as a team in the last four games. The first two games, we weren’t playing as a team and we’ve been doing a good job of that over the last few weeks.”
Bellamy said that his team was able to use its disappointing start as a positive and that the season-opening loss to Walled Lake Western and the week two loss to Bloomfield Hills, where the Lakers let a 17-point lead slip away in the fourth quarter, served as a bit of a wake-up call.
“It was almost a blessing in disguise for us,” he said. “It’s one of those things where people had high expectations for us and we had them for ourselves and we stumbled out of the gate, lost to a good Western team and we blew a 17-point lead, and sometimes that opens your eyes.”