Strong finish last season has Rochester High football in good position

By: Christian Davis | Rochester Post | Published October 3, 2012

 The Rochester High offense huddles Sept. 28 at Lake Orion High. The Falcons lost 42-7.

The Rochester High offense huddles Sept. 28 at Lake Orion High. The Falcons lost 42-7.

Photo by Donna Agusti

ROCHESTER HILLS — Rochester High football coach Erik Vernon and the rest of his squad believe in momentum, and they’re hoping it takes them right to the playoffs.

The Falcons are 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division. Last season, Rochester started 1-5 before winning its final three games.

“We had some injuries at the end of last year, and a lot of the guys that are seniors now got a chance to step up and play,” Vernon said. “We talked about that momentum carrying on. These kids knew they’d be good, and they’ve done a good job of working hard. I can’t ask for much more out of those guys.”

Vernon added that he’s not surprised by his team’s strong start.

“Everything has gone right for us so far this year. … We’ve stayed healthy,” he said. “We’re playing good, tough football. That’s what we expected.”

The defense has been especially tough, giving up an average of 10 points in each of its four victories.

“That’s something we’re trying to establish here, defensively being a tough team — a good-tackling team,” the coach said. “Look at Lake Orion and Clarkston, the two best teams in the division the last couple years. Their offenses have been good, but their defenses have really been the strength. That’s something that you have to establish in order to compete in this league.”

The Falcons’ losses came from Clarkston and Lake Orion, which are both undefeated.

Senior corner back John Deroshewitz said the defense likes to set the tone each game.

“We pride ourselves on not only having a good defense, but being physical and making teams know that we’re Rochester football, and win or lose, we’re going to make sure you feel our pain on defense,” he said.

Deroshewitz added that getting extra playing time at the end of last season is paying dividends.

“It kind of set us up for the next year and got our feet underneath us for varsity football,” he said. “We expected to shock some people.”

Winning the Red isn’t mathematically out of the question, but is a long shot. Instead, the Falcons have their eyes on a playoff berth.

Rochester has to win two of its final three games for an automatic bid and has Troy Athens, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek and Rochester Adams left on the schedule.

“We’re not satisfied with four wins or five wins,” Deroshewitz said. “We definitely have a focus on the overall prize. We’re keeping the pedal on the metal and going for it every single day.”