Lakeview's Evan Rochon switches to quarterback, powers Huskies to a 41-32 D2 playoff victory over Roseville
ST. CLAIR SHORES — A month ago Macomb County rivals Roseville and St. Clair Shores Lakeview played an entertaining game that featured a Roseville touchdown on the game’s final play that gave the Panthers a 26-24 victory.
The MAC Blue Division members paired off in a Division 2 predistrict at Lakeview on Friday and as wild as the first meeting was it fell short of matching this one.
Lakeview countered Roseville’s big-play offense with a smash-mouth, and sometimes makeshift, running game to defeat the Panthers, 41-32.
Lakeview (7-3) will play at Port Huron Northern (8-2), a 28-18 winner over St. Clair Shores Lake Shore, for the district title next Friday.
Junior Evan Rochon started the game at running back for Lakeview then, due to an undisclosed injury to starting quarterback Ivan Krohta on the last play of the first half, moved to quarterback for the second half. Lakeview coach Pat Threet kept the offense simple for Rochon, Lakeview did not attempt a pass in the second half, and he responded by rushing for 120 yards and two touchdowns in the second half.
Dancaille Robinson did a yeoman’s job in replacing Rochon at halfback in the second half as he rushed for 138 yards on 14 carries. Robinson had just two carries for eight yards in the first 24 minutes.
“I didn’t know in the locker room (at halftime) that I’d be playing quarterback,” Rochon said. “I came out on to the field and they told me. I was comfortable with it. We just have this mentality of running the ball down their throats. It was great to beat Roseville and it’ll be great to play Northern again.”
Northern won the Blue Division and defeated Lakeview at Lakeview, 26-15, in the process.
It’s uncertain if Krohta will be in the starting lineup next week but Lakeview coach Pat Threet said he wouldn’t count him out.
“I really don’t know what (the injury) is,” Threet said. “They just told me he couldn’t go. He’s a tough kid if there’s a way, he’ll be out there.
“Ivan’s our guy. I told him when we were 3-3, I need you (to play) defense. The thing I’m proud of is, we’re fighting. We’ve been a great second half team all season.”
Lakeview led 21-20 at halftime and, with the new quarterback, the Huskies controlled the game in the second half.
Lakeview scored 21 straight points to take a 21-6 lead with 1:26 left in the first quarter. Quarterback Ivan Krohta ran for two touchdowns (five and nine yards), and he threw a 20-yard touchdown pass Jude Hage to complete the scoring in the quarter.
It took the Panthers one play to score first as quarterback Javon Osterhout threw a quick slant to receiver Martell Turner who turned a short play into an 89-yard touchdown.
Roseville never found that type of magic until midway through the second quarter as the Panthers went 61 yards in 11 plays to score. Davion Lowman bulled his way into the end zone from three yards out and Darrian Smith ran for the conversion to bring Roseville to within 21-14 with 3:48 left.
Lakeview responded by making three first downs on its next drive but on first down from the Roseville 30 the Huskies tried a bit of trickery that backfired. Receiver Quincy Harris took the handoff and, under duress, threw a wobbly pass that was intercepted by Tarrence Weathers and the junior returned it 60 yards for a touchdown with 50.3 seconds left. The conversion failed and Lakeview led 21-20 at halftime.
The teams traded touchdowns to open the second half and Robinson gave his team a cushion by racing 45 yards for a touchdown for a 34-26 lead with 2:37 left in the third.
Roseville (6-4) answered with a trick play as Lowman took the handoff from Osterhout then threw back to his quarterback to complete a 54-yard touchdown play. The conversion failed and the Panthers trailed 34-32 with 1:35 left in the third.
Rochon’s 22-yard touchdown run with 10:24 left completed the scoring.
“I was pleased with (our defense) this time,” Threet said. “The first time we played them we weren’t in the same area code.”
Lakeview tied the school record for victories in a season and this was the program’s second playoff victory. The Huskies will go for their first district title against Northern.