Clarkston overcomes slow start to turn back Harrison, 23-12
By Michael Wallwork, The Oakland Press
CLARKSTON â The Clarkston Wolves concluded the regular season with a 23-12 victory over the visiting Farmington Hills Harrison Hawks on Friday night.
The game started auspiciously for the Hawks as Roderick Heard scored on Harrisonâs first play from scrimmage, bursting through the line for a 80-yard touchdown run to put the Hawks up 6-0.
After Harrisonâs defense got a quick threeâandâout on Clarkstonâs first possession, the Hawks methodically marched down the field in 11 plays, capped by another Heard touchdown for a 12-0 Harrison lead.
But as good as the first quarter was the Hawks, the second quarter was even better for Clarkston. The Wolves opened the quarter with a first down on their own 19-yard line and ripped off an eight play, 81-yard scoring drive behind the play of quarterback Nathan Uballe, who accounted for 47 of the 81 yards. The Wolves also got help from a pass interference penalty. Joshua Cantu finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 12-7.
Then the Clarkston defense took over.
After getting repeatedly gashed in the first quarter by Heard and the Harrison offense, the Wolves made some adjustments on defense and began to dominate.
Four of the next five Harrison possessions would end in turnovers, including back-to-back second-quarter drives ended by interceptions. Zach Scott took the first interception back 17 yards for a touchdown to give Clarkston the lead for good at 14-12. Tieler Houstonâs interception on the next series set up Clarkston in Hawks territory, and the offense converted it into points with a 45-yard field goal by Jermaine Roemer.
âWe made some adjustments, and then we improved in all three phases,â Clarkston head coach Kurt Richardson said. âOur kicking game was good. We got better on defense. I donât know how many first downs they had after the first quarter. We really got after it. We made some mistakes on offense, but it was a good team. Any time you beat those guys (Harrison) itâs a good win. Thatâs a great program over there, and all the respect in the world for Coach (John) Herrington.â
Heard finished with 208 yards for the Hawks, but never really got going in the second half as the Wolves limited him to just 33 yards after halftime.
âRod Heard did a really nice job. Heâs going both ways, and after a while he got worn down a little bit,â Harrison head coach John Herrington said.
Ubale finished 7-12 for 157 yards passing as he directed the offense to two more field goals in the second half to stretch the lead for Clarkston.
Roemer was also a difference-maker for the Wolves. Handling both the punting and kicking duties, Roemer made 3-of-4 field goal tries while also changing field position with several clutch punts, perhaps none bigger than a 43-yard punt from the shadow of his own end zone to start the second half, kicking Clarkston out of a field position hole.
With the win, Clarkston improves to 7-2 heading into the playoffs, where the Wolves will be hoping to open at home.
âEverybody is 0-0 now. It doesnât matter whether you were 5-4 and got in or 9-0,â Richardson said. âItâs all even, so weâve just go to play.â
Farmington Hills Harrison concludes the regular season at 6-3.
âWeâll be excited Sunday to find out who we have, and I think we have a team that can compete in Division 3. Weâre in Division 3, and I think we can compete there,â Herrington said.