Clarkston Everest Collegiate may not have been thrilled to face Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes in the first round of the Michigan high school football playoffs. Before this season, the teams had met four times, with Lakes winning all four and outscoring Everest, 150-7.
But in Week 6 this season, the teams were more evenly matched, with Lakes winning 34-31 in overtime, and that gave Everest hope for Saturday’s playoff game at Lakes.
Hope that turned into a four-yard TD pass from junior quarterback Grant Burgess to Alex Legg in the left corner of the end zone with 1:14 left, giving the Mountaineers a 22-21 upset victory.
“It was a belly (play) so I knew I had to get it out quick,” said Burgess. “I knew he (Legg) was going to be able to catch the ball. He’s a great player and I love him to death. This is an unbelievable feeling. This is our fourth year as a team and to beat them is unbelievable.”
Everest coach Michael Pruchnicki thought some trickery would help.
“I think they were probably looking for us to go the other way,” said Pruchnicki. “Their kid was right there on the play, but our kid made a better play. I think the first game this year did give us something to build on.”
Said Legg: “My quarterback made a great throw. The guy was right there. Hats off to Lakes. They have a great team.”
Everest improved to 8-2 and will play the Royal Oak Shrine/Fowler winner in the district final next weekend.
Time-consuming drives and the running of Isaac Oliver (30 carries, 169 yards) had the Lakers ahead, 21-10, but Everest got a key stop after scoring to make it 21-16.
On fourth-down and 1, Oliver was stopped short, turning the ball over with 6:38 left, setting up the winning drive.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Lakers went on a 17-play drive, getting a three-yard TD run by Kurt Romkema with 5:30 left in the half to give the home team a 7-0 lead.
The Mountaineers responded, settling for an 18-yard field goal by Simon Fenske with six seconds to go in the half to make it 7-3.
Lakes (6-4) wasted no time getting on the board in the third quarter, getting a 53-yard sprint down the left sideline from Oliver to make it 14-3 at the 11:24 mark.
Everest got its passing game untracked, with Burgess hitting Legg on a 53-yard screen pass to make it 14-10 with 10:19 left in the third.
Mental mistakes hurt the Mountaineers’ comeback. Twice on fourth down the defense was called for offside and a facemask penalty kept a Lakers drive alive.
Oliver plowed through for a one-yard TD run with 14 seconds left in the third, completing a 16-play drive to make it 21-10.
Burgess hit Nino Mastromatteo for a 31-yard TD pass, but the two-point conversion failed and the Lakers held a 21-16 lead with 10:34 to play.
“I knew it was going to come down to a couple of plays,” said Lakers coach Josh Sawicki. “The guy threw a great pass on fourth down. We tipped it and the guy made a great throw and a great catch and that’s the game.”