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Zimmerman vows to build from loss in D-4 district final

Published November 7, 2012

» click to enlarge «
Prep quarterback Brenden Newvine, pictured during the Prep Bowl, scored twice in a Nov. 3 home playoff loss to Country Day. Prep ended the season 9-2.

PONTIAC — He’s transformed a program that has celebrated winning seasons, and he’s turned it into one that now expects long playoff runs.

In a way, that made this loss sting a little more.

In another way, Kyle Zimmerman couldn’t help but appreciate exactly what his 2012 Pontiac Notre Dame Prep football team did.

“Right now, it hurts. I mean, we’re at a point with this program where losing in this game is a disappointment,” Zimmerman said moments after a 14-12 setback to Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day in a Nov. 3 Division 4 district final at home. “But these guys have a lot to be proud of. We were supposed to be rebuilding this year, and here we are playing in this one.”

After an 8-1 regular season, Prep rolled past Livonia Clarenceville 41-20 in a D-4 opener, setting up a showdown with Country Day on a cold Saturday night.

The Yellow Jackets struck first, taking a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter, then extended it to 14-0 late in the third quarter.

That’s when the Prep showed what the word “Fighting” in Fighting Irish really means. The guys in green and gold got a 10-yard touchdown run by quarterback Brenden Newvine with 10 seconds remaining in the third.

The ensuing extra point was blocked, but Prep didn’t let up.

After some key defensive stops, the offense got the ball back with just under five minutes remaining and marched down the field, capping another solid drive with another Newvine touchdown run.

Fighting Irish faithful were elated, as the game was 14-12.

Moments later, as Newvine was swarmed under by the Country Day defensive line on the two-point conversion, the harsh reality started to set in.

By the time the on-side kick ended unsuccessfully, the season was all but over.

“This whole game was tough,” Zimmerman said. “We just couldn’t finish tonight when we had to. That’s what it came down to.”

Looking toward the future, Zimmerman admitted things should only get better.

“We had a very young team this year, and those guys are going to have to build from this,” Zimmerman said. “We were supposed to take a step back, but the guys rallied to put together what this season was. The goal now is to keep this going. Take what we did here and build from it.”

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