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High school sports quick hits from Kosmo the all-knowing Oakland Press seer.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Talent and coaching weren't only reasons for Lake Orion's state title

One of the best prep days Kosmo can ever recall occurred on Saturday when Lake Orion won the Division 1 state football championship with a 21-13 win over Plymouth.
It has been a long time coming for the town, the coaching staff and a program that has come so close in recent years but has fallen short.
Talent, especially in the form of senior running back Marques Stevenson, and coaching definitely won the Dragons this title, but there was another factor as well.
Simply put, the Dragons finally got some breaks, which is always necessary for a championship.
Lake Orion probably has had even more talented teams in years past that haven't gotten far in the playoffs.
But the first break for Lake Orion was that there was no superpower in Macomb County this year.
Usually, Lake Orion has to run into dominant teams from Macomb Dakota, Sterling Heights Stevenson, Utica Eisenhower, etc.
That wasn't the case this year. As a result, the Dragons got to play at home the first three weeks of the playoffs and took advantage.
Eisenhower was solid, but not as powerful as its been. The Dragons beat them in a regional final, 17-10.
Davison in the first round and Grand Blanc in the second round offered little resistance.
The semifinal round brought a matchup against a speedy Detroit Cass Tech team. The Technicians may have been unbeaten and very good, but they weren't unbeatable. The PSL isn't a traditionally strong football conference. It wasn't like Lake Orion had to beat a traditional powerhouse team from Detroit Catholic Central or something like that.
Still, it took a forced fumble in the final seconds as Cass Tech was going in for the winning score to preserve the win. A great play by defensive lineman Andrew Shafkalis and a little bit of luck that the fumble occurred, no doubt.
Finally, Lake Orion ran into Plymouth in the state final. Plymouth had an incredible run by beating Canton, Catholic Central and Rockford three weeks in a row, but the Wildcats seemed awestruck in the first half against the Dragons, falling behind 21-3 at halftime.
It's debatable whether the awe factor would've plagued Rockford, Canton or another team that's been there before.
None of this takes away from Lake Orion's title, because they earned it by beating some very good teams and are clearly the best in the state.
Lake Orion also overcame the adversity of losing starting quarterback Sean Charette to a broken ankle against Eisenhower.
The Dragons were also WAY overdue for some breaks in the state playoffs. To their credit, they capitalized, just like every true champion does.


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