Many words can be used to describe Clarkston’s varsity football team this season, but thanks to the Wildcats, ‘undefeated’ is no longer one of them.
On Friday night, Oxford traveled to C-town and handed the now-wounded Wolves their first loss of the season in a 20-17 game that was decided in the final seconds.
With seven seconds left on the clock, a six-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Drew Carpenter to wide receiver Joseph Miller put an end to the Wolves’ winning ways.
“When you beat Clarkston – that’s a big win,” said Head Coach Bud Rowley, who viewed besting last year’s Division 1 state champion as a huge mental boost for his team.
“(Clarkston Coach Kurt Richardson) has a great coaching staff, great kids. We came into their house and beat them,” Rowley said.
The first half was scoreless until Clarkston drew first blood with a 44-yard field goal by Tristan Mattson early in the second quarter.
Later in the second quarter, Oxford got on the board with a 1-yard touchdown run by Trent Myre.
Samuel McMaken increased Oxford’s lead by kicking a 25-yard field goal with nine seconds left in the second quarter.
It appeared Oxford would head into halftime on top 10-3, but then Clarkston’s Josh Luther tied things up with an 82-yard kickoff return touchdown.
Clarkston took a 17-10 lead early in the third thanks to an 86-yard kickoff return touchdown, again courtesy of Luther.
A 40-yard field goal by McMaken in the fourth quarter narrowed Clarkston’s lead to 4 points. Carpenter’s touchdown pass to Miller ended the game and sealed the Wolves’ fate.
In terms of offensive yardage, Oxford completely dominated Clarkston with the Wildcats racking up 332 yards in 81 plays to the Wolves’ 37 yards in 23 plays.
Oxford’s Caleb Tabert led the Cats in rushing, gaining 123 yards on 24 carries.
He was followed by Myre, who rushed for 117 yards on 26 carries.
Carpenter rushed for 66 yards on 16 carries.
“I run the power and that’s what I believe in,” Rowley said. “That’s what I have done for 35 years. That’s what we run, that’s what we do.”
Oxford is 3-2 in the OAA red division and 5-2 overall. Rowley said his team would “enjoy” its big victory over the weekend, but “come Monday,” it would be time to put the old “game face” back on.
The Wildcats will face Bloomfield Hills in their homecoming game this Friday.
Game time is 7 p.m.
Clarkston News Sports Writer Wendi Reardon Price contributed to this story.