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Shrine football falls by a touchdown at home, fails to clinch playoff spot

ROYAL OAK — A playoff berth will have to wait — at least for now.

The Royal Oak Shrine football team had a chance to clinch a spot in the postseason for the 11th consecutive season, but Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes put the celebration on hold.

“Just too many big plays against us. We can’t do that and expect to win close games like this,” Shrine coach John Goddard said following a 21-14 loss on Sunday afternoon at home. “It’s a tough loss because of what we could’ve done today.”

Lakes scored on its opening possession, a 2-yard run by Vinny Puma that capped a 13-play drive.

But Shrine answered right back when Tim Niehaus connected with John Lee on an 80-yard touchdown pass.

The game stayed tied at 7-7 into the third quarter until Lakes scored on its first possession of the second half, a 64-yard run by Sean Thomas.

Again, Shrine answered when Niehaus scored on a 24-yard run.

“We kept coming right back,” Goddard said. “But then they’d get us again.”

The final score came midway through the third when Zack Bell hauled in a 46-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Sabo.

“That’s a good team, and you can’t give up that many big plays,” Goddard reiterated. “Now, we just have to move on and find a way to accomplish the things we set out to do.”

Shrine, now 5-1 overall and 2-1 in Catholic League Intersectional Division, travels to Riverview Gabriel Richard at 7 p.m. Friday night.

The Knights need one victory in their final three games to clinch a playoff spot, and still have a chance to reach the Prep Bowl with wins in their final two league games and an Allen Park Cabrini victory over Lakes on Oct. 11.

Lakes is now 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the Intersectional Division.