West Bloomfield falls in regionals to Belleville

By: Zachary Manning | Online Only | Published November 16, 2019

 West Bloomfield High's Cornell Wheeler makes a tackle against Belleville High Nov. 16. The Lakers fell 27-22.

West Bloomfield High's Cornell Wheeler makes a tackle against Belleville High Nov. 16. The Lakers fell 27-22.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

BELLEVILLE –– When West Bloomfield High took the field Nov. 16 at Belleville High, it had a shot at redemption.

After falling to Belleville in a Division 1 regional final last year, the Lakers came out motivated and looking to make a statement. West Bloomfield jumped out to a 15-0 lead, thanks to a safety and two touchdowns by Donovan Edwards.

The Tigers entered having scored 116 points over their first two playoff games, so the offense could pop at any time, and that it did.

With just a few minutes before halftime, the Tigers started their offensive outburst. They would go on to score 27-unanswered points to take a 27-15 lead.

Edwards caught a touchdown pass to make it 27-22 late in the fourth quarter, and the Lakers recovered the ensuing onside kick to give themselves a chance to win.

The Lakers could not finish off the drive, however, and eventually fell to the Tigers.

“He’s an X’s and O’s guy. One of the top coaches in the state, so I wasn’t expecting nothing different,” Tigers coach Jermain Crowell said of Lakers coach Ron Bellamy.

With the loss, the Lakers end the season with a 10-2 overall record and as champions of the Oakland Activities Association Red Division.

It was also the fifth time in the last six years that the Lakers have won at least nine games in a season. The Lakers have now made the regional round three straight years.

During its thee game playoff run, West Bloomfield outscored its opponents 106-41.

“This was a great group,” Bellamy said. “Sometimes as coaches, you wish you did a little bit more, and I feel like that, because everything I asked of them, they gave to me.”

The Lakers will lose a good chunk of players from this year’s team, and Bellamy was thankful for everything his senior class has done for the program over the years.  

“You just thank them,” Bellamy said of his players. “Football is the greatest sport in America. The reason being is it brings so many things together, so many people together. We teach so many life lessons. It’s just not about X’s and O’s for us. It’s about life."