FOOTBALL: Clarkston imposes will, coasts past Southfield in OAA crossover affair
CLARKSTON – The much-anticipated OAA crossover battle Friday evening between OAA Red champ Clarkston and OAA White champ Southfield wasn’t much of a battle at all.
Dominating play from start to finish, host Clarkston defeated Southfield 20-10 in a game where the visiting Blue Jays could do little right and painfully wilted away as the hungrier and more aggressive Wolves’ feasted.
There was over a dozen future Division I college football players on the field competing Friday in front of a packed home crowd and droves of scouts and recruiters. Both teams came into the game riding seven-game winning streaks and holding Top 10 state-rankings.
Clarkston (8-1) went ahead 17-0 at the half and then staved off a late mini-rally by Southfield in the fourth quarter to claim the victory.
Senior tailback Ian Eriksen carried a heavy load for the Wolves’ offense, toting the pigskin 37 times for 137 yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the first half on 1-yard goal-line plunges.
"Ian’s a workhorse in the backfield and we’re not afraid to ride him when we have to," longtime Clarkston head coach Kurt Richardson said. "That was a hard-nosed effort he showed versus a pretty nasty Southfield line. He doesn’t shy away from responsibility on or off the field."
Eriksen, who overcame an early-season injury bug to end the regular season on a red-hot tear gobbling up yardage, is committed to play in college at Eastern Michigan University. Last week, Eriksen rushed for 235 yards and six touchdowns in Clarkston’s 48-28 downing of arch-rival Lake Orion to capture the team its second straight league title.
“We play as a team and we have a lot of fun out there together,” Eriksen said. “Our defense was doing a great job tonight and that made things easier on the offense. We could just chip away and chip away and control time of possession.”
That defense Eriksen referenced was quite formidable against a speedy and explosive Southfield assault, keeping the Blue Jays buried deep in their own territory for a majority of the contest. Defensive lineman and Michigan State-commit David Beedle and middle linebacker Dominic Monson headed the Wolves tackling barrage, racking up eight tackles and a sack apiece.
Star placekicker and Kent State-commit Shane Hynes booted a pair of field goals (30,40) to lead Clarkston’s special teams and junior quarterback D.J. Zezula was steady as can be operating the Wolves’ offense.
Southfield (7-2) pulled to within striking distance at 20-10 late in the fourth quarter thanks to a 45-yard touchdown scamper by senior slotback Jacob Studdard. However, Zezula and Eriksen bled the clock out and Clarkston walked off the field with the knowledge it had significantly outplayed a highly-touted and talented Blue Jays’ club