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Auburn Hills

Avondale football comes to a close in district final

Published November 7, 2012

» click to enlarge «
Auburn Hills Avondale running back Michael Johnson finds the end zone against Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Nov. 3 in a Division 3 district final. The Yellow Jackets lost 49-14.

ORCHARD LAKE — Though disappointed in the season ending, Auburn Hills Avondale football coach Steve Deutsch expressed that he couldn’t be more proud of his team following the loss Nov. 3 at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.

“These guys are just a great group that worked their butts off all year long,” he said. “They did everything they were asked, and they had a heck of a season.”

The Yellow Jackets finished 9-2 overall following the 49-14 defeat to St. Mary’s in a Division 3 district final.

After beating Bloomfield Hills Lahser 21-19 in its playoff opener a week earlier, this became the sixth squad in school history to win a playoff game.

Deutsch said much of the success came from their dedication to the game and each other.

“They don’t care about who scores, about who gets what,” he said. “They only care about Avondale.”

In the district final, St. Mary’s scored on its opening drive with a short plunge from Parker McInnis midway through the first quarter.

Avondale knotted it up 7-7 at the end of the quarter when senior running back Michael Johnson found the end zone from 7 yards out.

The Eaglets took control of the game on its next drive, going 60 yards in 16 plays, finishing with a 1-yard run by Niemiec to make it 14-7. During the possession, St. Mary’s converted three fourth-down attempts and took nearly eight minutes off the clock.

“It’s just tough. You can only pound with them for so long,” Deutsch said. “Our kids were right there and made some good plays, but we just couldn’t get those few fourth-down stops to get the ball back.”

When Avondale did get the ball back, they turned it over just before the half, leading to a 46-yard touchdown run by McInnis with less than a minute left in the half to make it 21-7.

It was all St. Mary’s in the second half, until Johnson returned a kick 95 yards late in the third quarter to get the Yellow Jackets back on the board.

“This whole year has been the most amazing experience,” Johnson said. “Throughout my four years, I’ve never been on a team like this. It’s sad it has to end like this. We knew they were going to come out and give us their best, but we gave them our best.”

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