Waterford Mott tops rival Waterford Kettering in shootout to earn share of KLAA North title
Waterford – In recent years, rivals Waterford Mott and Waterford Kettering haven't played many games against one another with playoff or division title implications.
But both teams went into Saturday's yearly rivalry game with an identical 4-2 record looking for another win to get one step closer to clinching a playoff spot, while a win for Mott would give the Corsairs a share of the KLAA North title.
In an offensive shootout that saw the two teams exchange touchdowns all day long, with neither scoring consecutive touchdowns, Mott outlasted rival Kettering for a 56-53 win over the Captains, the first win over its rivals since 2011 and securing a spot in a three-way tie first place in the KLAA North with Walled Lake Western and Walled Lake Central.
Mott head coach Chris Fahr said that with his team, there are a lot of firsts, but added that this was an important game for the Corsairs for a number of different reasons and was obviously happy to come out with the victory.
“With us, everything’s a first,” he said. “We haven’t done this since then, we haven’t done that since then, but obviously playing those guys over there is important and we wanted to win this game very badly, probably worse than I’ve ever wanted to win a football game. I’m not going to lie, I wanted this win bad and I’m glad we got it.”
The Corsairs struck first on a seven yard hookup between senior Dakota Kupp and one of his favorite targets in senior Randy Bicknell to put Mott ahead 7-0 early on.
Kettering responded on the first play of the second quarter on an 11 yard touchdown run by Danotiss Smith to cut the deficit down to 7-6, but the missed extra point seemed to play a bigger role than what most would expect as it kept Kettering in a hole throughout the afternoon as the Captains were forced into trying to make-up for the missed point after with several two point conversion attempts.
“It came down to extra points, really,” said Kettering head coach Kyle Schultz. “In the end, we didn’t make ours and they (Mott) capitalized on theirs and that was the story of the game.”
With Mott holding a 7-6 lead early on in the second quarter, Kupp found Bicknell on 3rd down for an 83 yard touchdown to put the Corsairs on top, 14-6.
“He called it,” said Fahr of the 83 yard touchdown. “He said Randy’s always open, but he asked for it and Dakota and Randy were on the same page and what a beautiful ball, a beautiful catch it was just awesome.”
Kettering responded just 14 seconds later when quarterback Henry Mistrzak found Smith for a 58 yard touchdown to cut the deficit down to 14-12 after a missed two-point conversion try.
Mott went into halftime with a 21-18 lead after a Corbin Moorer 45 yard touchdown run for the Corsairs and Smith notched his third touchdown of the game for Kettering.
After the two teams came out of halftime exchanging scores throughout the third quarter, Kettering managed to trim the Mott lead down to 35-33 on a touchdown run from Evan King late in the third quarter.
But the Corsairs once again pushed their lead to two scores as Kupp connected with receiver Juan Webb, who transferred from Kettering to Mott before his senior season, to give the Corsairs the 42-33 advantage.
“If it keeps working, then we’re just going to keep doing it,” said Kupp on his team’s offensive success on Saturday. “We go out there with the intention to score every time and that’s what happens for us.”
Kupp finished the game with 257 yards passing and five touchdowns, while Bicknell and Webb each totaled over 100 yards and two touchdowns through the air for Mott.
With time running out on Kettering Smith scored his fifth touchdown of the day with 3:18 left to play to cut the Mott lead down to 49-46, but once again, the Corsairs matched with a touchdown of their own as an 11 yard strike from Kupp to Eddie Meredith with 2:54 to go in the game.
Smith gave one last boost to the Captains as he scored his sixth touchdown of the game bring Kettering to within three, 56-53, but Mott recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt and managed to run out the clock.
Smith finished the afternoon with 220 yards rushing on 20 carries to go with his six touchdowns.