Strong defense, late touchdown leads West Bloomfield to victory over Southfield A&T

By: Zachary Manning | Online Only | Published September 13, 2019

 West Bloomfield High's JaQuan Wiggins carries the ball against Southfield A&T. The Lakers won 17-8.

West Bloomfield High's JaQuan Wiggins carries the ball against Southfield A&T. The Lakers won 17-8.

Photo by Donna Agusti

SOUTHFIELD –– When two rivals like Southfield A&T and West Bloomfield High hit the field, each team can expect to get the others best shot.

As two of the top teams in the state, the matchup did not disappoint, with defense playing a key role in the 17-8 West Bloomfield victory Sept. 13 at Southfield.

“We respect them, they respect us," Lakers coach Ron Bellamy said. "Just a physical football game.” 

Physical is an accurate description for the hard-hitting action taking place on the field. Most of the hitting was coming from both defenses as neither would let the other find a rhythm offensively.

With the Lakers leading 10-8 late in the fourth quarter, Southfield A&T was set to return a punt with a chance to win the game.

As the punt rolled down the middle of the field, Southfield A&T was in the wrong place at the wrong time and hit the ball, thus making it live. West Bloomfield scooped up the ball and began another drive with just three minutes on the clock.

Like it had all game, the Warriors’ defense held strong, forcing the Lakers into another fourth-down situation. This time, however, West Bloomfield’s offense was able to make a play, as CJ Harris hit Chase Glover down the middle of the field for a 30-yard touchdown to secure the victory.

“The safety went with the jet motion, seam was wide open, had to give it a shot, gave it a shot, six points on the board,” Harris said.

While the offense put the finishing touches on the game, it was the Lakers’ defense wreaking havoc throughout the night.

The unit has been quite dominant to open the season, and Bellamy has been impressed with his group through three games.

“You look at our schedule, to play Oak Park, Groves and come back and play a tough Southfield A&T team, our defense has been a pillar for our football team,” Bellamy said. “We have a lot of talented guys on defense, and they play for one another, and it shows on Friday nights.”

Penalties hurt both teams throughout the game, as the two rivals combined for more than 25 total penalties.

Both coaches noted that the high amount of penalties hurt the flow of the game but liked the way their guys played through it.

Warriors coach Tim Conley was happy with his team’s fight throughout the game but said his team has work to do offensively.

On the flip side, Conley was impressed with his team’s defensive performance. While holding the Lakers to 17 points, the unit also added two points on a safety to open the scoring in the game.

“We just got to cut down on mistakes on offense and have some more confidence in what we’re doing on offense and keep playing defense like we did,” Conley said.

Now 2-1, the Lakers will hit the field again at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at home against Clarkston High.

After falling to 1-2, Southfield look to bounce back at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at Troy Athens.