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October 9, 2013

After failing to clinch playoff spot, Shrine football keys on final three games

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Shrine senior Stevie Erwin runs with the ball after a catch in the first half against Our Lady of the Lakes. Shrine dropped the game 21-14 but still has plenty to aim for in the season’s final three weeks.

ROYAL OAK — There was disappointment, but there was also perspective.

After so many years on the sideline, John Goddard has learned to balance the two.

And on Oct. 6, the Royal Oak Shrine football coach needed to.

“This is a tough one. Disappointing,” Goddard said following a 21-14 loss to Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes on a Sunday afternoon celebrating the school’s annual homecoming.

Big plays, he would go on to explain, were the difference in his guys moving to 6-0 or 5-1.

“We know what we have to do,” Goddard said of the final three weeks of the regular season. “All we can do is bounce back.”

Trailing 7-0, Shrine quarterback Tim Niehaus connected with John Lee on an 80-yard touchdown pass to even the game.

Lakes took the lead back on its first possession of the second half, a 64-yard run by Sean Thomas, only to see Niehaus answer with a 24-yard touchdown run of his own.

But the final score came midway through the third, when Zack Bell hauled in a 46-yard pass from Dylan Sabo and scored the game’s final touchdown.

“Just too many big plays against us. We can’t do that and expect to win close games like this,” Goddard said. “It’s a tough loss because of what we could’ve done today.”

The Knights could have clinched a playoff berth and all but secured a spot in the Prep Bowl.

Now, the emphasis shifts to the final three weeks, and a little bit of rooting for other teams.

One victory in any of the remaining games will give Shrine its 11th consecutive playoff appearance.

If Lakes falls to Allen Park Cabrini on Oct. 11, and the Knights beat Riverview Gabriel Richard (7 p.m. Oct. 11 at Richard) and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood (2 p.m. Oct. 19 at home), Shrine will also qualify for the Prep Bowl.

“We’ve played well all season; there’s just a few things we did here today you can’t like,” Goddard added. “We have to get back at it and find a way to fix those things.”

Playoff hopes alive

Clawson High beat St. Clair Shores South Lake 21-14 Oct. 4 to improve to 4-2 on the season.

After missing out on the 2012 playoffs with a loss in the season’s final week, the Trojans can clinch a spot in this year’s postseason with two wins in their final three games.

Clawson hosts Warren Lincoln (2-4) at 7 p.m. Oct. 11, before traveling to Mount Clemens High (3-2) at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 and then closing with a home game against East Detroit (1-5) at 7 p.m. Oct. 25.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.