In Bloomfield Hills’ first three years as a football program, it was 6-21.
Friday night, the Blackhawks kept an undefeated season intact with a 42-16 victory over Berkley for their first Oakland Activities Association Blue Division title.
The offense made homecoming a night to remember, scoring 28 points in the first half and putting the Bears in a hole they couldn’t escape.
Bloomfield Hills is 8-0, 6-0 in league play. The Bears fell to 5-3, 4-2.
“I think this group of kids take a lot of pride in doing the little things well,” said coach Dan Loria, who endured an ice bath as “We Are the Champions” blared from the loudspeakers. “We’ve said from the get-go to do the little things, and they’ve done that. We watch film, and we go over the little things over and over again. They suck it up, and they communicate and talk to each other.”
Junior quarterback John Paddock had two scoring pass plays covering nearly 100 yards each to put together the best passing game of his career.
Paddock completed nine of 12 passes for 326 yards and four TDs. The running game would have been even better, but running back Derek Lynch had an 86-yard TD run called back because of a holding penalty.
“They were giving us a look in man coverage that we knew we could handle,” Paddock said. “It feels great. It’s great for this community, this area and our school. It was awesome. Being able to run the ball with Derek (Lynch) and myself and Ty (Slazinski) and Kiewuan (Graham) in the passing game … the balance has been phenomenal. We thought we could run routes that were perfect against them. It was a lot of fun. It was my best game of the year.”
The Blackhawks struck quickly, getting a 22-yard pass from Paddock to Graham with 10:09 left in the first quarter to make it 7-0.
On its next possession at its 6, Bloomfield Hills burned Berkley with a 94-yard pass-run to tight end Alex Emde to make it 14-0 with 6:21 left in the first quarter.
Berkley quarterback Ross Herron and the offense put together a 14-play drive, with the quarterback scoring up middle on a 10-yard burst to get the Bears to within 14-6.
The Blackhawks got that back on a 9-yard TD pass from Paddock to Slazinski to make it 21-6.
With Berkley driving, the Blackhawks’ Devon Lynch intercepted a Herron pass and returned it to the Bears’ 48.
Paddock hit Graham with a 46-yard pass, setting up Lynch’s 2-yard TD run to make it 28-6 with 4:24 left in the first half.
Berkley’s Conner Grobbel kicked an 18-yard field goal with 32 seconds left to make it 28-9 at halftime.
“The guys gave John enough time to throw the football,” Loria said. “His leadership skills are fantastic along with his confidence level, and he knows the offense.”
Paddock was laser-sharp in the first half, completing seven of nine passes for 226 yards.
He picked right up in the second half.
After being dropped for a 12-yard loss and in the shadow of his own end zone, on third-down and 22, he hit Lynch with a screen pass, and the speedster did the rest, racing down the right sideline for 99 yards and a dagger score, increasing the lead to 35-9.
Berkley finally got on the board again with a 1-yard TD run by Herron, making it 35-16.
Eli Sherman scored with 4:13 left for the Blackhawks.
Contact Perry A. Farrell: 313-222-2555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @farrellperry.