Oak Park scores 44 unanswered points, rolls past Southfield to keep playoff hopes alive
Oak Park – After starting the season with an 0-3 record, Oak Park has played with its back against the wall as the Knights needed to win its remaining six games in order to make the playoffs.
And after winning its previous four games, Oak Park found its back against the wall early in Friday night’s game against Southfield.
Southfield would take a 14-6 lead in the second quarter, but Oak Park would respond with 44 unanswered points to pick up a 50-14 win over Southfield to keep its playoff hopes alive.
“It’s been a playoff game every week for us since we were 0-3 and our kids have really responded well,” Oak Park coach Greg Carter said. “We played well the whole game, they gave up a couple of touchdowns early, but our kids hung in there when we were down.”
After Southfield (5-3) would push its lead to 14-6 with 50 seconds left to play in the second quarter on the second touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Sam Johnson to Brandon Gray, Oak Park scored with less than 10 seconds left before halftime as Chauncey Lowman would connect with Miles Daniel to cut the deficit down to 14-12.
Oak Park (5-3) would then take its first lead of the game with 4:51 left to play in the third quarter when Nahjee Trinity would score on a 12-yard touchdown run to make it 20-14 after Lowman scored on a 2-point conversion.
Lowman, who Oak Park was forced to play without early in the season due to injury, would account for two touchdown passes and also scored two 2-point conversions on the day to pace the Oak Park offense.
“He’s a two and a half year starter, he knows our offense and he settles our kids down,” Carter said of Lowman. “He’s definitely our team leader and he played like it tonight.”
After a Dylan Stackhouse touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter would make the score 28-14 in favor of Oak Park, the Oak Park defense would force a quick 3-and-out for the Southfield offense and Trinity would then break off a 46-yard touchdown run to all but put the game out of reach, pushing the lead to 36-14.
Southfield coach Tim Conley said that this week’s loss can teach his young team plenty going forward.
“Just how to react to adversity,” he said. “When the going got tough, I’m not sure we picked ourselves up like we could have. I think we’ve done a better job of that earlier in the season.”
Oak Park ended the game with a pair of touchdown runs coming from Cashual Goldsmith to push the lead to 50-14 late in the game.
Oak Park’s first touchdown of the game came on a six yard touchdown pass from Lowman to Robert Zanders with 7:31 left in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 7-6.
Oak Park is expected to face Clarkston in an OAA crossover battle hoping for one more win to earn a playoff spot, while Southfield will be looking to clinch a playoff spot as it will face Troy Athens.