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Southfield High football run comes to an end in second round

Published November 7, 2012

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Southfield High running back Gerald Gates looks to get around the corner at Oak Park High Nov. 2 in a Division 2 playoff game. The Blue Jays lost in overtime.

OAK PARK — Southfield High football coach Tim Conley didn’t hide his emotions when trying to express what the seniors meant to his football program following a loss Nov. 2 at Oak Park High.

“These kids at Southfield are great,” he said. “These guys really improved a lot. … The leadership we got from these guys really helped out. They had to mold the younger kids, get their minds right, and I think they did an excellent job with that.”

The Blue Jays’ season came to an end following a loss to Oak Park 19-12 in overtime in a Division 2 district final.

“For us to be able to fight and beat them twice this season is a great accomplishment for our team,” Oak Park coach Greg Carter said.

In their first meeting, the Knights won 24-18 in overtime.

This time around, Oak Park stopped Southfield at the 1-yard line on fourth down for the win. The possession before, the Knights scored on a fourth down of their own from 2 yards out when running back Malik Washington plunged in. It was his third touchdown of the game.

“I don’t know if there was a turning point, but when you make mistakes, things get magnified to a degree. Not being able to convert extra points, we had a fumble down here, those kinds of mistakes. … The kids played their hearts out, but when you make a mistake in the playoffs, you pay for it,” Conley said.

Southfield took the early lead in the game when quarterback Tre Walton found Jeff Madison on a 4-yard score with 11:53 left in the first half.

The Knights answered with just less than two minutes left, forcing a Southfield fumble, giving Washington the chance to score on a 12-yard scamper to tie it 6-6 going into the half.

The Blue Jays reclaimed the lead with 6:09 left in the game when running back Gerald Gates found an opening on the left side for a 27-yard score to make it 12-6.

Oak Park wasted little time bouncing back, as Washington ripped off a 66-yard touchdown run on the first play of the possession.

Southfield drove down to Oak Park’s 18 on its final possession but turned it over on fourth down to force overtime.

“I thought it was a real clean game, with a lot of running. That’s what I expected,” Conley said. “It’ll be a really nice rivalry between us.”

The Blue Jays finish the year 7-3 overall.

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