McCabe: Bloomfield Hills perseveres, stays perfect in fourth season

McCabe: Bloomfield Hills perseveres, stays perfect in fourth season


McCabe: Bloomfield Hills perseveres, stays perfect in fourth season


Dan Loria

Dan Loria

Years from now, Dan Loria will point to Friday night as the game Bloomfield Hills became a football program.

This is the fourth year since Bloomfield Hills Andover and Bloomfield Hills Lahser combined to become Bloomfield Hills High. While it might have been a success educationally, it was an absolute disaster football-wise.

“We didn’t merge two football teams,” Loria said.

Loria had been the Lahser coach for 12 years and built the program into a powerhouse, routinely contending for the OAA Blue title and three times advancing to the state semifinals.

Lahser had an enrollment of just more than 900 and had more than 100 players in the program. When it combined with Andover, the enrollment doubled, and the new school was placed in the OAA Red, featuring state champs Clarkston and Lake Orion.

But the doubling of the enrollment was not reflected in the program’s numbers.

“We actually went down,” Loria said. “In all my years at Lahser, I did everything to make sure we had all three levels. Even if I only had 22 freshmen, we did it. The first year of the merger we didn’t have enough kids for JV.”

In Andover’s final year, the school played an opening game, but didn’t finish its Week 2 game and never played again.

That meant Loria basically marched into the OAA Red with his Lahser team, and the results were predictable: 3-6, 2-7 and 1-8 last year.

“This senior class took a pounding in the Red as freshmen and sophomores, but they stuck it out,” Loria said. “I give those kids so much credit.”

Loria deserves a lot of credit, too. He is a terrific coach who runs a class program, and he never gave up when things became difficult.

The OAA realigned this season, placing Bloomfield Hills in the Blue — and the Black Hawks haven’t lost.

On Friday, Bloomfield Hills completed a 9-0 regular season with an impressive 21-0 victory over a highly motivated Lake Orion team, which was 5-3 and trying to secure a playoff spot.

Defensive end Josh Jones helped spearhead the defense with two timely sacks. John Paddock threw for 138 yards and three touchdowns, and Derek Lynch, 5 feet 6, 135 pounds, ran for 126 yards and was a standout at cornerback.

“Derek’s got that gear,” Loria said. “He can be going at one speed and then he can turn it on immediately.”

The Black Knights weren’t able to turn it on immediately when they first became a school, but they did Friday when it counted most.

“There was a sense of urgency for this game,” Loria said. “They knew they had to pick their game up, and they knew they had to try to play a perfect game against them. At kickoff, I felt pretty good.”

He felt even better after the game.

Selection Sunday

The biggest questions surrounding the 256-team playoff field is how many 5-4 teams will make the field and which ones will they be?

It appears there are 38 spots for 5-4 teams, 37 if Orchard Lake St. Mary’s beat Novi Detroit Catholic Central on Saturday night. Either way, St. Mary’s is in the field.

The 5-4 teams are supposed to be divided equally among Class A, B, C and D, but only four Class D teams have 5-4 records, meaning the remaining 34 spots will be divided among Class A, B and C schools.

The 5-4 teams in Class A are: OLSM (if it lost to CC), Waterford Mott, Novi, Livonia Stevenson, Grand Blanc, South Lyon, Lake Orion, Howell, Portage Northern, West Bloomfield, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern and Greenville.

Class B schools: Williamston, Grand Rapids South Christian, Flint Powers Catholic, Adrian, Battle Creek Pennfield, Olivet, Detroit Osborn, Wyoming Godwin Heights, Monroe Jefferson, Belding and Stockbridge.

Class C schools: Detroit Central, Houghton Lake, Hemlock, Harrison, Manchester, Hesperia, Harbor Springs, Reese, Whittemore-Prescott, Reese, Ecorse and Petersburg-Summerfield.

Class D schools: Vestaburg, Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart, Hillman and Colon.

Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1.

State playoffs!

The district football playoff matchups will be revealed on Fox Sports Detroit at 7 p.m., and will be available at following the broadcast.


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