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Four Interceptions Doom Lakers in Home Opener

Clarkston High School beat West Bloomfield High School 34-7 Thursday night.

The score: Clarkston 34, West Bloomfield 7

The star: Wolves senior quarterback Mitch Baenziger passed for 228 yards on 8-of-12 passing attempts and scored three touchdowns including one rushing touchdown to lead Clarkston to its second straight win to open the season.

The turning point: Coming out of halftime, the Lakers seemed ready to make a dent in the 27-7 deficit they faced. Within the first minute of the third quarter, Baenziger hit a wide-open Mike Schwartz streaking down the left sideline for a 58-yard touchdown that quieted the home sideline.

The quote: "We threw four interceptions tonight and whenever that happens you’re bound to lose. We threw two in the red zone and (Clarkston) went and scored. This is a good football team and you can’t do that." — West Bloomfield head coach Ron Bellamy.

Injury report: Lakers senior quarterback Daryn Byrd left the game at halftime. Bellamy said that Byrd's injury would need time to heal and that he may not play next week. Senior lineman Jordan Ofeimu did not play, as it was discovered that he suffered a torn ACL Ofeimu is out for the season.

What's next? Clarkston will travel to Troy Athens High School Sept. 9, while the Lakers will visit Royal Oak High School.

Bottom line: Clarkston looked like a contender for the Oakland Activities Association Red Division championship, although they will need to make fewer penalties against better competition. The Lakers have faced two tough teams in their early season schedule and learned a lot about themselves, but will need more from their best players to beat Royal Oak.

Looking to rebound after a tough loss last week to Farmington, the West Bloomfield High School varsity football team came out for its home opener Thursday ready and excited to play.

However, the momentum didn't last, as mistakes on offense and defense led to a 34-7 loss to Clarkston High School to fall to 0-2 on the season.

"Whether it’s fundamentals from tackling or missed assignments, we have to eliminate the big plays. The good part about our schedule so far is that we're playing against physical teams, and from that we’re figuring out who we can play and who we can’t play," said West Bloomfield head coach Ron Bellamy.

The Lakers made the most of an early, first-quarter opportunity and turned it into the game's first touchdown. After a punt on Clarkston's first possession gave the Lakers the ball in their own territory, senior quarterback Daryn Byrd hit senior C.J. Brathwaite with a 14-yard pass, followed by a 15-yard run from senior Jalen Campbell. Brathwaite ran a left sweep into the end zone from the Wolves' seven-yard-line, drawing cheers from the home crowd.

"I was just so excited to see daylight," Brathwaite said. "Jalen threw a nasty block and I saw that coming around the edge and I just walked in."

However, the good fortune was not to last. After an extra-point kick from Connor Genrich, Clarkston senior Joey Goss returned the ensuing kickoff from the goal line to the Wolves' 44-yard-line, and the Wolves eventually scored on a Goss run from the Lakers' five-yard-line.

Later in the half, with Clarkston leading 14-7, Goss took a handoff at the Wolves' 40-yard-line up the middle before moving towards the right sideline, juking a defensive back and speeding into the secondary all the way for a 60-yard touchdown run.

"If they manufacture a touchdown, that's OK, (Clarkston) is a good football team. But we can't allow the big plays and that's what we did tonight," Bellamy said.

Byrd threw four interceptions and left at halftime with an injury. He was , who impressed Bellamy by completing five passes on 14 attempts and showing off his mobility in the pocket on several attempts.

"We gotta find a way to get (Dees and Byrd) on the field together. When the pass play is not there, he tucked the ball, he ran the ball, and he made some positive things happen. He’s an older guy, he’s a senior, and he’s only getting better with experience," Bellamy said.

Clarkston senior quarterback Mitch Baenziger passed for 228 yards on 8-12 passing attempts and scored three touchdowns including one rushing touchdown to lead Clarkston to its second straight win to open the season.

Coming out of halftime, the Lakers seemed ready to make a dent in the 27-7 deficit they faced. However, within the first minute of the third quarter, Baenziger hit a wide-open Mike Schwartz streaking down the left sideline for a 58-yard touchdown that quieted the home sideline.

"We wanted to get him going and he had a nice night," said Clarkston head coach Kurt Richardson. "Mitch has been outstanding for us so far this season. He’s so calm back there, and he reminds me a lot of (graduated Clarkston quarterback) Tyler Scarlett from a few years ago. He’s the man — a real feld general for this team."

________________________________________________________

Clarkston 34, West Bloomfield 7

CHS - 0 27 7 0 - 34

WBHS - 7 0 0 0 - 7

WBHS: Brathwaite 7 run (Genrich kick)

CHS: Goss 5 run (Barta kick)

CHS: Baenziger 21 pass to Schwartz (Barta kick)

CHS: Goss 60 run (Barta kick)

CHS: Baenziger 10 run (Barta miss)

CHS: Baenziger 58 pass to Schwartz (Barta kick)

RUSHING

WBHS: Campbell 16-71, Byrd 3-minus-1, Brathwaite 4-2, Farrow 3-18, Dees 6-14. Totals: 32-104. CHS: Baenziger 3-27, Dicea 1-4, Goss 12-97, Kaminsky 4-2, Dellinger 3-5, Haines 1-3, Stover 1-5. Totals: 25-143.

PASSING

WBHS: Byrd 4-12-48-4, Dees 5-14-45-0. Totals: 9-26-93-4. CHS: Baenziger 8-12-228-0.

RECEIVING

WBHS: Brathwaite 1-14, Hardrick 4-45, Williams 1-14, Campbell 3-20. CHS: Goss 2-32, Schwartz 3-93, Smith 1-49, Yeloushan 1-28, Dicea 2-26.

PENALTIES

WBHS: 7-50. CHS: 8-70.

RECORDS

WBHS: 0-2 (0-1 OAA Red). CHS: 2-0 (1-0 OAA Red).

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