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November 19, 2013

Rochester Adams football battles in regional final

By Christian Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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Rochester Adams’ Jordan Shive fights for extra yards against Clarkston High Nov. 16 on the road in a Division 1 regional final. The Highlanders lost 56-28.

CLARKSTON — After snapping its streak of 15 straight playoff appearances last season, Rochester Adams football coach Tony Patritto thanked this year’s seniors for putting the program back on track.

The Highlanders fell to Clarkston High 56-28 Nov. 16 on the road in a Division 1 regional final.

“I just told them that they brought us back,” Patritto said. “They really worked hard and got us at least this far, and that’s something I will always appreciate for our program.”

Adams made the playoffs in dramatic fashion and facing adversity. The Highlanders won their last two regular-season games to qualify without starting senior quarterback Matt Sokol, who went down with an injury and will be playing for Michigan State University next season.

“When Matt went down — that’s difficult for any team, but ultimately, it was a team effort from beginning to end. They worked hard in the summer and worked on getting our head back in the right place in terms of our tradition and how we wanted to play,” Patritto said. “I’m very proud of their resolve and how they stuck with it all season.”

In the regional, Clarkston started its assault early, taking advantage of two turnovers by the Highlanders within the first four minutes of the game, ultimately leading to a 20-0 lead with 6:12 left in the first quarter.

“Give them all the credit in the world; they took advantage of every mistake we made. You just can’t do that against a good football team in a regional final,” Patritto said.

The Highlanders battled back to make it 28-14 with 4:53 remaining in the first half after a couple of scores from Jordan Shive, including a 5-yard run and a 35-yard touchdown catch from Kyle Wood.

Clarkston responded with a touchdown pass of its own when D.J. Zezula found Austin Egler in the end zone with 33 seconds remaining in the half to make it 35-14.

The Wolves then put the game out of reach on the first play of the second half, again taking advantage of a turnover, this time recovering a fumble in the end zone to make it 42-14.

“We talk about takeaways and converting them as difference-makers. That was pretty much the case today,” Clarkston coach Kurt Richards said. “We got those turnovers early, but my hat’s off to Adams; there is no quitting in those kids. They kept on scratching and scratching.”

Zezula finished the day with three touchdown throws, connecting with Egler and Tim Cason twice. Ian Eriksen scored three rushing touchdowns, and Reid Kaminski and Cain Watlington also put the Wolves on the board with a defensive touchdown each.

Wood led Adams with a touchdown throw and rush. Clarence Broadnax and Parker Monahan also had scores on the ground.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Christian Davis at cdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1062. Twitter Follow Christian on Twitter.