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October 31, 2012

Prep cruises past Clarenceville, set to host Country Day in district final

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Prep’s Jermaih Johnson (6) is pictured during the 2012 Prep Bowl. Johnson rushed for 224 yards in the playoff opener last weekend. Prep faces Country Day Nov. 3 for a district title.

Kyle Zimmerman said his team had been in a funk.

For three weeks, he wasn’t exactly sure what was going on, but he knew his Pontiac Notre Dame Prep football team needed to snap out of it.

The Fighting Irish certainly did.

Notre Dame opened the 2012 state playoffs with a convincing 41-20 victory Oct. 27 against Livonia Clarenceville in the first round of the Division 4 bracket.

“We seemed to just hit a wall the past three weeks,” Zimmerman said of his team, which won two of those three games but ended the regular season with a 17-12 loss to Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard in the Catholic League’s Prep Bowl: its first loss of the season. “We came back (in the playoff opener) with a lot of energy. We were renewed. We were playing at home for the first time in a while, and the energy was certainly there.”

The rushing game was key for Prep in the win.

Backup quarterback Brenden Newvine rushed for 212 yards in the win, while running back Jermaih Johnson accounted for 224 yards on the ground.

Looking forward, Zimmerman knows his guys will have to do more of the same if they want to earn a trip to the regional final.

Prep (9-1) will host Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day (8-2) at 7 p.m. Nov. 3 for that right.

“I think it’s an awesome matchup for Oakland County in general,” Zimmerman said. “Country Day is a great football team with some really skilled athletes. … I think our key is establishing the run game, and I’d bet they will try and do the same thing.”

“That’s a team with a lot of quickness that can do a lot of different things to take you off your game,” Country Day coach Dan McLean said of Prep. “We have to be ready for their pressure on offense and defense.”

Country Day beat Clinton Township Clintondale 35-0 in its pre-district.

Quite the test
Auburn Hills Avondale had to gut out a 21-19 victory in the opening round of the D-3 tournament.

In doing so, Avondale (9-1) now gets to make a trip to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s to take on the defending state champs, who are 8-2 and rolled past South Lyon East 59-7.

The game is set for 1 p.m. Nov. 3 in Orchard Lake.

Northwest ousted
Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest had its season come to a close in a D-7 pre-district. The Crusaders ended the season 5-4 after falling to Flint Beecher 35-21.

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