With star running back Nolan Eriksen watching in street clothes and quarterback Anthony Reiner suffering an injured hand in the first half, Clarkston’s supremacy in Division 1 and the Oakland Activities Association Red Division is in serious jeopardy.
Host West Bloomfield gladly stepped into the driver’s seat tonight with a 35-21 victory, improving to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the OAA Red.
Two touchdowns within 20 seconds of the third quarter doomed Clarkston (1-2).
West Bloomfield senior quarterback Trishton Jackson (Michigan State) accounted for all five TDs, four rushing and one throwing.
“We needed this — this was big,” said Jackson, who was 9-for-10 for 88 yards. “I’ve been waiting for this for three years.”
His coach was effusive in his praise.
“Trishton Jackson is the best player in the state of Michigan,” coach Ron Bellamy said. “I’m telling you guys this, and it’s no secret. Hands down. Everybody else can say who they play and the weak competition they play, padding stats. He’s the best player in the state of Michigan.”
West Bloomfield forced the first turnover when Reiner fumbled at the Lakers’ 12-yard line with defensive lineman Jordan Swanigan scooping up the ball and rumbling to the Clarkston 45-yard line. Swanigan and Theo Majette dominated the line of scrimmage.
The Lakers cashed in on the turnover on fourth down when Jackson hit Navon Mosley with a 27-yard dart on a post pattern to give the home team a 7-0 lead with 1:55 left in the first quarter.
Michael Fluegel (139 rushing yards) stunned the West Bloomfield defense with a 68-yard burst down the left sideline to tie the game at 7 with 32 seconds left in the first quarter.
Fluegel then plowed in from the 1 to give Clarkston a 14-7 lead.
West Bloomfield’s offense responded in a hurry with a 43-yard run by Garrett Winn and Jackson weaving his way for a 21-yard TD run with 4:17 left in the half to make it 14-14.
West Bloomfield took the second-half kickoff and marched 77 yards, getting a 1-yard TD run from Jackson with 8:02 left to give the home team a 21-14 lead.
Clarkston then fumbled the snap between the quarterback and running back, and the Lakers recovered at the Wolves’ 3. Jackson scored his third rushing TD on the next play as the Lakers opened up a 28-14 lead with 7:42 left in the third.
“Trishton is tough,” Clarkston coach Kurt Richardson said. “I don’t think we could have stopped him with 14 guys out there.”
Jackson tacked on his fourth TD run on a 7-yard sprint with 3:53 left in the third to make it 35-14.
Contact Perry A. Farrell: 313-222-2555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @farrellperry.