FOOTBALL: Southfield Shocks Harrison in Final Minutes of OAA White Thriller
FARMINGTON HILLS – The Southfield Bluejays played like blue-chippers in crunch time of their Oakland Activities Association White Division tussle with Farmington Hills Harrison.
Falling behind by 17 points on the road in a hostile environment, Southfield rallied for a pulse-pounding 27-20 win over the host Hawks, scoring two touchdowns in 90 seconds late in the fourth quarter to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in miraculous fashion.
The Bluejays (3-2) knotted the game 20-20 with just under three minutes to play on a 5-yard touchdown trot by senior running back Gerald Gates and then took their first lead of the contest on the ensuing extra point.
On Harrison’s next possession, Southfield senior strong safety Mark Lincoln intercepted a pass and after gaining a big chunk of yardage down field lateralled the ball to cornerback Darius Danzy, who took it into the end zone for the game-clinching score.
Danzy, a transfer from Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, also had an interception in the game, a drive-stalling pick in the end zone in the third quarter.
“We shifted into overdrive late and stole a win with our determination and alertness,” Bluejays head coach Tim Conley said. "These guys never gave up, battled to the bitter end and we’re rewarded for their effort."
Harrison (3-2) jumped in front 14-0 at the half when sophomore quarterback Ryan Brand hooked up with all-league senior wide receiver Garius Coleman for a 7-yard touchdown in the closing seconds of the second quarter.
While being without their own star receiver, senior Brandon Bean (sidelined with a foot injury suffered in Week 4), seemed to bother Southfield in its scoreless first half, it didn’t seem to faze the Bluejays at all in the second half.
Stepping into Bean’s role as the team’s No. 1 threat in the passing game, junior Devonte Alfred was leaving defensive backs in the dust in the third quarter, hauling in a pair of touchdown catches (35, 45 yards respectively) from senior quarterback Tre Walton. Alfred’s second scoring grab pulled Southfield to within striking distance, making it 17-14 midway through the frame.
Gates rushed for 100 yards to lead the Bluejays ground assault. Walton completed 8-of-12 passes for 110 yards and the two touchdowns to Alfred and assumed much of Bean’s leadership role on the field. Prior to Friday, the Bluejays had never beaten two-time defending OAA White champion Harrison on its home turf.
Holding Hawks’ star running back Lorenzo Collins to 90 yards, Southfield’s defense was spearheaded by the senior linebacker duo of Jeff Madison and Willie Duncan. Madison racked up a team-high 10 tackles and Duncan had eight wrap-ups.
Southfield gets back to work in Week 6 when the Bluejays host Oxford (3-2), winners over Rochester Adams in Week 5.