Running back Nathan Goralski said Romeo’s defense had much to do with him scoring both of his touchdowns in a 41-7 win over host Clarkston in the Division 1 regional championship Friday night.
The Bulldogs (9-4) scored three times off turnovers and stopped three of Clarkston’s four trips inside the 25-yard line.
“They’re awesome,” Goralski said of the defense. “They’ve really hit their stride here late in the season. They’re holding teams to like three points per game now in the postseason. That’s tough to do into a regional in the third week. They’re really hitting it right now.”
The win advanced the defending D1 champions to the state semifinal Nov. 19 against the winner of today’s game between Novi Detroit Catholic Central and Grandville.
►Related: More scores from Friday night
Romeo capitalized on short fields in the first half.
In the opening quarter, Goralski gave Romeo a 7-0 lead on a 4-yard TD, and then Kade Messner’s fumble recovery set up Romeo’s next score, a 1-yard rush by Malik Jones to start the second.
Just before halftime, Bailey Kamego intercepted Clarkston quarterback J.T. King and returned it to the 23. Two plays later, Austen Malczewski punched in a 1-yard rushing TD, helping the Bulldogs to a 21-0 advantage into halftime.
“(Getting turnovers), it’s huge,” Goralski said. “A shorter field to work with, it’s easier to score. You just can kill an opponent that way.”
Clarkston (9-3) opened the second half with Ryan Prisby hauling in a 13-yard TD reception from King.
One drive later, the Wolves called Prisby’s number again on fourth-and-4 on the 18, but Romeo’s defense batted down King’s slant pass.
It marked the third time the Bulldogs had stuffed Clarkston’s offense in the red zone.
“We have some undersized kids out there, but they fly around,” Romeo co-coach Curt Rienas said. “Playing a good team like that, they’re (Clarkston) going to make some plays.”