Zdebski praises 2013 team after run to district final, loss to C.C.

By: Mike Moore | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published November 19, 2013

 Western senior Kyle Bambard rushes for a first down against Catholic Central in a D-1 district final. Western ended the 2013 season with a 9-2 record.

Western senior Kyle Bambard rushes for a first down against Catholic Central in a D-1 district final. Western ended the 2013 season with a 9-2 record.

Photo by Sean Work

There were to be no excuses, no cliché’s about coming close, or missing opportunities or anything like that.

As Mike Zdebski looked back on a Division 1 district final loss to Novi Detroit Catholic Central, the Walled Lake Western football coach kept things simple.

“We just weren’t the better team on this day,” he said of a 37-27 loss suffered Nov. 9 at home.

But the Warriors certainly did fight.

Catholic Central came in as a slim favorite, having lost just twice in 2013, both times to unbeaten Birmingham Brother Rice. The Shamrocks have also been to the past two D-1 state finals, dropping both to Cass Tech High.

None of that mattered to Western, which took a 7-6 lead when Kyle Bambard hit Steven Meister with a 20-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.

Zach Bock answered back for C.C., hauling in a 33-yard touchdown pass and then returning a fumble 20 yards for a 21-7 lead with 4:24 remaining the first half.

John Simmons scored on an 8-yard run for Western, but Bock hauled in a 64-yard pass before the first half ended, giving C.C. a 28-14 lead at the break.

C.C. led 30-14 after the third, and while Western’s offense got going again in the fourth, a 1-yard run by Bambard and a 1-yard touchdown catch by David Walczyk bookended Bock’s 66-yard touchdown run — one that seemed to take momentum of the game for good.

“We prepared so well, but some of the things we prepared for, they just found ways to beat us on,” Zdebski said. “We felt we could stop the run and limit their pass attack. But they were able to pass the ball, and they hit a few home runs that really hurt us. … It comes down to the fact that we lost to a very good football team.”

Western closes the year with a 9-2 mark, reaching the district final for the third straight season.

“It’s another great year,” Zdebski said. “The kids are as good as anyone, just not this one day. The effort, the time, everything they put into this team was something special. It was a great group of kids that took this team and this program very seriously.”

The current group of seniors exit the program with a four-year record of 36-10, a D-2 district title in 2012 and an appearance in the 2011 D-2 state final game.

“They were great,” Zdebski said of his outgoing class. “One of the most successful groups we’ve ever had here.”

Northern falls in final, as well
Speaking of senior classes leaving a mark, the guys at Walled Lake Northern certainly did that the past two seasons.

Having never reached the playoffs before, the Knights finished last season with a 7-2 record, defeated Howell High in the opening round of the postseason before falling to Catholic Central in a D-1 district final.

This year’s team picked up right where last year’s left off.

The Knights finished the regular season on a five-game winning streak and a 7-2 record.

They beat Waterford Kettering 28-14 in a playoff opener before falling to Rochester Adams 28-25 in the district final to end the year 8-3.

The team’s 16-6 record the past two seasons says plenty about the current roster, considering the program went 17-37 from 2006-2011.