South Lake ‘playing team ball’ in successful start to season

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 19, 2022

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — This isn’t the St. Clair Shores South Lake (3-0) of years past. Aside from its usual athletic talent, South Lake football coach Vincent Phillips has constructed a roster where its physicality matches its athleticism.

“This is probably the most physical team I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Phillips said.

Averaging over 38 points per game, South Lake’s offense has been dealing in its flawless start to the season.

If history tells the story correctly, South Lake’s explosive emergence could reel in the school’s third-straight playoff appearance.

Since 2000, South Lake has started the season 3-0 six times with five of the seasons being playoff bound.

Senior running back Javion Davis has anchored the ground game with 66 carries for 386 yards and three touchdowns, while sophomore running back Jerimiah Patman added back-to-back 100-yard rushing games in weeks one and two.

Junior quarterback Brandon Cunningham has been efficient as a dual-threat option as he’s tallied two touchdowns through the air and four on the ground this season.

“Offensively right now, we’re really fluent and have a lot of good things going,” Phillips said.

While the defense has allowed over 25 points per game, South Lake’s unit has made up for it in points production, as junior Orlando Hall has accounted for two defensive touchdowns, as well as three interceptions this season.

Hall tallied 85 receiving yards in South Lake’s 32-25 win over Marysville on Sept. 9. at South Lake High School. South Lake’s ground game was the deciding factor as Cunningham (one), Davis (one), and sophomore Randy Howard Jr. (two) all recorded rushing touchdowns.

“We are playing team ball and our guys are holding each other accountable,” Phillips said. “We’re doing the little things well, and we’re running the football well. We’re a veteran ball club now.”

South Lake will have its toughest test of the year so far when it hosts 2021 Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 5 runner-up Marine City on Sept. 16.

It’s a new South Lake with new expectations.

“You never really know. We wanted to see how tough we were and gritty,” Phillips said. “The difference is our guys expect to win games.”