Dakota football tops L'Anse Creuse North
Cougars pull away in fourth quarter, advance to face Lake Orion next
By Jon Malavolti
C & G Staff Writer
Christan Gore, pictured in a recent game, and Dakota's defense clamped down on L'Anse Creuse North to help lead the Cougars past the Crusaders 42-17 in a Nov. 2 Division 1 district final football playoff game at Dakota.
MACOMB – Dakota’s football team won the battle for 21 Mile Road and a trip to the regional round of the playoffs with a 42-17 victory Nov. 2 over neighbor L’Anse Creuse North.
“They’re a pretty good football team,” Dakota coach Mike Giannone said about LCN. “I think we just wore them down a little bit. We played great defense. The defense was the answer tonight.”
The Cougars advanced to play at Lake Orion next week at a time and date to be announced later. Lake Orion defeated Utica Eisenhower 10-7 in another Division 1 district final Nov. 2.
Dakota won its third district title in four years thanks to some big plays against the upstart Crusaders, who led 10-7 at halftime. LCN was playing in its first ever district final.
“We haven’t been here before, and that showed tonight,” LCN coach Anthony Kiner said. “Too many mistakes. We’re learning. We’re growing up.
“It was a great season.”
LCN, which finishes the season 8-3 after going 0-18 the past two years, took an early 7-0 lead after junior quarterback Sean Koski scrambled for an 11-yard score with 3:21 remaining in the first quarter.
Dakota (9-2) quickly tied the game when junior cornerback Mustafa Abdur-Rahman returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to make it 7-7.
LCN sophomore kicker Mitchell Peer kicked about a 33-yard field goal with a little less than a minute to play in the half to put the Crusaders up 10-7. Peer was also 2-for-2 on extra point attempts. Dakota junior kicker Pasquale Madonna was 6-for-6 on his extra points.
The Cougars took their first lead of the game a few minutes into the second half, as senior running back Nick Cattaneo ran in for a 4-yard score to make it 14-10.
Dakota recovered a fumble on LCN’s first play after the kickoff and promptly went up 21-10 a few minutes later when senior quarterback Richmon Render connected with senior running back Matt Crossley on a 6-yard touchdown pass.
The Cougars stole the ball back from the Crusaders again after a few plays, as Abdur-Rahman grabbed an interception.
But this time, Dakota didn’t capitalize, and it was LCN showing up next on the scoreboard. The Crusaders made things close heading into the final quarter when senior running back Vincenzo Parratto ran in from 1-yard out with 1:15 left to play in the third quarter, leaving the score 21-17.
Yet the Cougars quickly answered again, as Crossley ran for a 57-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage for Dakota following the LCN score, putting Dakota ahead 28-17 at the end of the third.
Dakota didn’t let up in the fourth quarter, as junior fullback Nicko Savich and Cattaneo added short rushing scores. The Cougars’ defense clamped down as well, with Abdur-Rahman grabbing a late interception and senior linebacker Ryan Weber recovering a fumble on special teams.