WEST BLOOMFIELD DEALS OAK PARK FIRST DEFEAT
Oak Park — West Bloomfield ended Oak Park’s unbeaten season while punching its own playoff ticket with a 27-21 victory on a cold, rainy Friday night.
And, it didn’t come easy.
West Bloomfield (6-2) led 27-0 at halftime, then had to hold on with senior running back Phillip Stewart leading an Oak Park second-half comeback, running for 205 of his 275 yards during the final two quarters.
In fact, it looked like Oak Park — the OAA White Division champs and No. 2 team in The News Super 20 poll — would get the ball back with 3 minutes left for a chance at the win.
But, it didn’t happen as Oak Park roughed up punter Sam Lafata after he scooped up the ball on a bounce and got the punt away, giving West Bloomfield a first down at the Oak Park 46. And, West Bloomfield got a pair of first downs to run the clock out.
West Bloomfield was dealt a big blow last week when standout sophomore Donovan Edwards, who already has offers from Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State, suffered a season-ending injury (broken leg) in last week’s loss to Southfield A&T.
Penn State-bound linebacker Lance Dixon stepped in for Edwards and used his sub-4.5 speed to cause some damage, scoring on a 25-yard run for a 7-0 lead, then a 2-yard TD run to open a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Dixon played a big role in all three phases of the game, hauling Ohio State-bound quarterback Dwan Mathis for a third down sack with seven minutes left in the second, then blocking a punt on the next play, giving the ball to West Bloomfield at the Oak Park 29.
Dixon’s biggest play could have been his 18-yard run on a third-and-6 on a jet sweep in the final minutes.
“It was my first time playing running back, our running back got hurt so I got to make up the production from it,” said Dixon who finished with 105 yards on 12 carries.
On the TD run, Dixon said: “They just called a jet and I did my best to break tackles and get in. It’s so important to punch our playoff ticket, to get that solidified.”
West Bloomfield advanced to the Division 1 championship game at Ford Field last year, losing to OAA Red rival Clarkston, 3-2.
Oak Park could get nothing going in its first several drives, getting stopped on a fourth and 1 from its own 40 when junior safety Makari Paige showed why he has offers from Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State, tackling Mathis for a 5-yard loss in the final minute of the first quarter.
“They called me for a blitz so I could get the job done and I did the best I could,” Paige said.
Then, on West Bloomfield’s first play, C.J. Harris went up top and found Tyrone Broden for the 35-yard TD pass and a 14-0 cushion with 53.5 seconds left.
On the ensuing kickoff, Oak Park fumbled and West Bloomfield recovered at the 32, then capitalized on the short field when Dixon bulled his way to the 4, then scored two plays later.
West Bloomfield didn’t take advantage after Dixon’s blocked punt, but it did extend its lead to 27-0 when Michigan Statebound receiver Tre Mosley intercepted a Mathis pass and returned it 75 yards, breaking numerous tackles for a 27-0 lead with 4:12 left in the half.
“We came into this game down five starters,” West Bloomfield coach Ron Bellamy said. “Our kicker got hurt in the soccer game last night.
“Our left tackle is out with a concussion. Our one technique is out. Our running back is out. I love these kids. They are resilient.”
Auburn Hills Avondale 45, Hazel Park 6: Kobe Anthony returned an interception 95 yards for a touchdown, Derrick Hinton had a 40-yard run and Jamason Jodway had a 55-yard run for Avondale (6-2, 4-2 OAA Blue). Hazel Park is 3-5, 1-5 OAA Blue.
Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood 42, Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard 7: Jack Fairman was 8-for-16 for 119 yards and two touchdowns and had 13 tackles and a sack, and Torrell Williams had four receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown, returned a fumble 25 yards for a touchdown and had a interception for CranbrookKingswood (5-3).
Dearborn Edsel Ford 41, Taylor 22: Steve Gilbert rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns, Keegan Rowe had six carries for 62 yards and a score, Joe Marano had 41 rushing yards and a touchdown and Max Marion had a passing and rushing touchdown for Edsel Ford (3-5, 3-5 Downriver). Taylor is 2-6, 2-6.
Detroit Cody 20, Detroit Mumford 14: Alexander White rushed for 111 yards on 14 carries and scored the game-winning touchdown for Cody (6-2, 3-2 PSL Green) in the final seconds. White also threw for a touchdown. Also for Cody, Joshua Wiley caught a screen pass and took it 80 yards for a touchdown and Joseph Thomas had two sacks and 10 tackles. Mumford is 5-3, 3-1 PSL Green. Cody advances to the PSL B Divison Championship.
Detroit Public Safety 50, Mount Clemens 0: Shunndean Bridges went 15-for-17 passing for 275 yards and two touchdowns, Devontae Webb had seven receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown and two interceptions for Detroit Public Safety (7-1). Mt. Clemens is 1-7.
Grosse Ile 21, Riverview 14: Zak Thompson threw a 4yard touchdown pass to Max Athens and Luke Harwood had 22 rushes for 138 yards and two touchdowns for Grosse Ile (8-0, 7-0 Huron League). Kyle Nais had 15 rushes for 69 yards and two touchdowns for Riverview (6-2, 5-2).
Grosse Pointe South 54, Grosse Pointe North 0: This is the third straight MAC White Division title for South (8-0, 5-0 MAC White) and the first time the team has went 8-0 since 1983. North is 1-7, 1-4.
Plymouth 35, Salem 13: Logan Walkley rushed 16 times for 72 yards and a touchdown and Van Riley scored twice, one receiving and one rushing, for Plymouth (6-2, 5-2 KLAA West). Nathan Hunt rushed 16 times for 85 yards and a touchdown for Salem (1-7, 0-7).
South Lyon 29, Walled Lake Western 19: Sam Johnson was 11-of-22 for 223 yards and a passing touchdown, CJ Brown rushed 11 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns and Kevin Jackson had a 42-yard touchdown reception for Western (5-3, 5-2 Lakes Valley). South Lyon (8-0, 7-0) wins the Lakes Valley title.
Warren Mott 35, Utica Ford 7: Alex Wells rushed 27 times for 134 yards and a touchdown for Ford (3-5, 2-3 MAC White). Mott is 6-2, 4-1.
West Bloomfield running back Anthony May, left, is tackled by Corion Montgomery on Friday.
Oak Park quarterback D’Wan Mathis, left, scrambles for yardage against West Bloomfield during the first quarter.