Auburn Hills, Orchard Lake
Orchard Lake St. Mary's football captures district title
November 3, 2012
ORCHARD LAKE — Orchard Lake St. Mary's continued its winning ways in its quest to defend its Division 3 state championship.
The Eaglets beat Auburn Hills Avondale 49-14 Nov. 3 for a district championship.
"Any time you get to play another football game, it's a great thing," St. Mary's running back Grant Niemiec said.
The senior was part of a punishing running game that eventually wore down the Yellow Jackets.
St. Mary's opened the scoring on its first drive following a short plunge from Parker McInnis midway through the first quarter.
Avondale knotted it up 7-7 at the end of the quarter when 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 convered 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," Avondale coach Steve 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, it turned it over just before the half, leading to a 46-yard touchdown run by McInnis with under a minute left in the half to make it 21-7.
"To get a scoring opportunity right there before the half is always a big play," St. Mary's coach George Porritt said.
It was all St. Mary's in the second half, getting a punt return from Jalen Watts Jackson, a throwing score when quarterback Matt Linehan found tight end Nathan Conrad, and a rushing score from Niemiec.
Avondale got on the board with a 95-yard kick return from Michael Johnson late in the third quarter.
The Yellow Jackets finish 9-2 overall. The Eaglets go to 9-2 and host either East Detroit English or St. Clair High at 1 p.m. Nov. 10.