Clawson High football aims to end season strong

By: Mike Moore | Royal Oak Review | Published October 10, 2017

 Clawson High’s Malachi Lyons runs away from a tackler during the team’s Oct. 6 victory against St. Clair Shores Lakeview. It was the first of the season for the Trojans.

Clawson High’s Malachi Lyons runs away from a tackler during the team’s Oct. 6 victory against St. Clair Shores Lakeview. It was the first of the season for the Trojans.

Photo by Sean Work

CLAWSON — It’s a situation he’s not comfortable with, mainly because it’s one that is not all that familiar.

When the Clawson High football team finished 3-6 last fall, it was the first time since 2005 that the season ended with a losing record.

It was also the first time since 2013 that the Trojans weren’t part of the playoff party.

Coming into 2017, all hopes centered on a bounce back — a rejuvenation, so to speak.

“The biggest thing is, this is uncharted territory for us,” Clawson coach Jim Sparks said of consecutive losing seasons. The Trojans are 1-6 after beating St. Clair Shores Lakeview 28-17 Oct. 6 at home. “As a coach and a team, we’ve really never been part of something like this. … Of the games we’ve lost, we were one play away in about four of them. So that’s what makes it tough.”

Clawson started the year with a 16-0 loss to Armada and never seemed to recover.

Close calls also came in a 23-13 loss to undefeated Madison Heights Madison, a 26-21 loss to Eastpointe High and a 41-39 loss to New Haven High.

“Turnovers, penalties at a bad time, just mistakes,” Sparks said. “We’ve used the same formula that brought us success in the past, but it’s the little things here and there that have cost us games.”

Sparks was also quick to credit his guys and the mindset they’ve approached each week with, even as the results remained stubbornly out of reach.

“I’ve had winning teams at this point in the year that haven’t worked as hard as these guys are,” he said. “They have a great attitude. It’s just tough when you’re losing like we are and mistakes pile up.”

Asked if he is a coach who believes momentum can carry over, or if a strong finish to 2017 could pay dividends in 2018, Sparks said it’s all a mindset.

“I believe that everything in coaching is how you present it,” he explained. “If I choose to present the end of this year as something that can help us in the future, then it can.”

On top of that, there are still games to be played: Oct. 13 against St. Clair Shores South Lake and Oct. 20 against Yale High.

“The big focus is finishing the year on a good note and sending the seniors out on a positive,” Sparks said. “I don’t take losing well, and these guys don’t either. I think there are a lot of positive things in this program, with expectations very high for what we want to do.”