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St. Mary’s scores early, hangs on to top Southfield

By: Branden Hunter, August 30, 2014, 3:00 am

DETROIT – The knock on Southfield over the years, is that despite how good they are on paper, it doesn’t always translate on the field. That proved to be true today, at the Prep Kickoff Classic at Wayne State, as Orchard Lake St.Mary’s was able to hold on to a 21-19 victory over the Bluejays.

The Eaglets were just better on the day, and didn’t allow the talent that Southfield has stockpiled, to scare them.

"This was a huge win for us," said head coach George Porritt. "Winning the first game is always big, and playing a team good team Southfield was challenging, but we pulled it out. We made our mistakes, but we will correct that."

 The game was scoreless after one twelve minutes, as neither offense was able to find their rhythm. St.Mary’s  must have used five running backs in the game, wearing down Southfield’s defense. They rushed for a total of 170 yards, one coming on a touchdown run by senior Pierce Bauer with 10:19 left in the half, to go up 7-0 early.

 "That’s how our team is built," Porritt said. "Everything is a team effort, and today was no different. I give full credit to our coaching staff, offense, defense, and special teams."

Speaking of special teams, after St.Mary’s forced Southfield into a three and out on their first possession of the first half, sophomore K.J. Hamler took a punt 47-yards for a score, knifing threw several Southfield defenders. The Eaglets now held a 21-6 lead with 9:58 left in the third, and things weren’t looking too good for Southfield.

"The punt return definitely got my confidence back up," said Hamler. "I had to make a play to make up for the drop I had, and I did. I saw the seam, I hit it fast, and I just turned it up  into the end zone."

Down, but not out, Southfield had twelve minutes to make something happen, and senior quarterback Kanye Harris wasn’t going to just give up. Aaron Cooper recovered a fumble by St.Mary’s which, and one play later, Harris connected with Wake Forest commit Dior Johnson on a 57-yard touchdown pass. Now only down 21-12, with 8:55 left, all they had to do was play defense now.

They did just that too. St.Mary’s tried to run the clock out running the ball, but Southfield’s defense was there again to make a big play, forcing another fumble with 3:26 to go. Southfield recovered, and once again, Harris led them down the field, capping off an eight play, 54-yard drive, with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Ray Buford, to pull with two, at 21-19 with 1:25 left.

But by then it was a too late. Southfield had used up all of their timeouts, and couldn’t stop St.Mary’s from running out the clock. Harris finished 21-36, for 304 yards, and three touchdowns. Buford, who is committed to Minnesota, had two of those receiving touchdowns.

"This win feels good, and is good for our program," said Smith. "I want to give a shoutout to my team for stepping up, when I was injured. So to see them step up the way they did while I was out, was really good to see.

In the game that preceded the second game at Wayne State, Warren Mott handled Detroit Cody 31-16. Senior quarterback Connor Madigan rushed for two touchdowns, and Kenyon Kelley returned an interception 27-yards for a touchdown. Cody’s duo of Omar Salih and Kevin Mahone hooked up twice for scores.