Clawson High senior Tristen Perry carries the ball in a game earlier this season on the road. Perry was named MVP in the Macomb Area Conference Bronze Division.

Clawson High senior Tristen Perry carries the ball in a game earlier this season on the road. Perry was named MVP in the Macomb Area Conference Bronze Division.

Photo by Brian Sevald


Clawson High football sweeps end-of-season honors in MAC Bronze

By: Jacob Herbert | Royal Oak Review | Published December 10, 2019

 Clawson High coach Jim Sparks runs through drills during a practice earlier this season. Sparks has led the Trojans to 10 playoff appearances and 14 winning seasons since he took over as coach in 2002.

Clawson High coach Jim Sparks runs through drills during a practice earlier this season. Sparks has led the Trojans to 10 playoff appearances and 14 winning seasons since he took over as coach in 2002.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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CLAWSON — The 2019 football season was one to remember for Clawson High.

After starting the season 0-2, the Trojans rebounded in a big way, winning six of their final seven games to win the Macomb Area Conference Bronze Division and clinch a playoff berth.

Clawson also won its first playoff game since 2004 when it beat Detroit Henry Ford 28-0 in a Division 5 predistrict matchup Nov. 1 on the road.

With all the success comes the recognition. Trojans coach Jim Sparks was named Coach of the Year in the MAC Bronze.

“It’s always nice to be recognized for doing a good job, but I think Coach of the Year should be more like Team of the Year,” Sparks said. “No one wins Coach of the Year without great players, and we are fortunate enough to have not just great players, but great kids.”

Sparks, who has been at the helm of Clawson football since 2002, thanked his entire coaching staff — which includes Steve Lemke, Steve Haney, Gary Gorman, Ty Sparks, Tom Perry and Deshon Davis — for sacrificing time on nights and weekends to help the team prepare.

During every football season, Sparks said, each team has a teetering point. That moment was more prevalent than ever this past season.

Six weeks into the season, Clawson was 3-3 and needed to win out to comfortably secure a spot in the playoffs. Sparks said the message to his team was simple: Almost all of the Trojans’ goals were still attainable.

“You’re still coming to practice every day with the hopes of being a league champ and the hope of making the playoffs,” Sparks said.

The Trojans did eventually make the playoffs for the second year in a row and the 10th time in Sparks’ tenure.

Leading the charge was senior quarterback and defensive back Tristen Perry. Perry was named Most Valuable Player in the MAC Bronze.

“It was kind of nuts,” Perry said on winning the award. “You don’t really think about it during the season. We focused on winning game by game, and we’ve always preached that if you win games you’ll get noticed. I completely forgot that there was an MVP award, and when I found out I definitely thought I had a chance at it. When I won it, I was thrilled.”

In his senior season, Perry threw nine touchdowns and had 762 yards through the air. But where he was even more dangerous was with his legs. Perry ran for over 1,000 yards, averaged 5.52 yards per carry and scored 17 touchdowns.

As a free safety, Perry accounted for 32 total tackles and six interceptions.

“He’s a football guy and everything that encompasses that,” Sparks said. “Determination, toughness and commitment to our program. He wouldn’t have become the player that he is if he didn’t put in the dedication along the way to do so.”

Perry commended Sparks’ ability to be flexible with the offense. With Perry being more dangerous with his legs than with his arm, the coach tailored the offense to fit his quarterback’s strengths, and it ultimately paid off in the end.

Perry said playing at Clawson was “the definition of brotherhood.” He also thanked his predecessors for teaching him and making this year’s seniors tougher.

“They went 100% in practice, which made us better so when we got to this stage we were able to perform at the level that we were able to,” he said.

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