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

Friday, December 24, 2010

Heath's kick in 2008 played role in 2010 title for Lake Orion

Since most high school teams are on winter break right now, Kosmo got a chance to reflect a bit on football season a little more in the last couple of days, even watching a replay of Lake Orion's 21-13 win over Plymouth in the Division 1 state championship game.
While watching the game, Kosmo noticed former Lake Orion player Jeff Heath on the sideline.
Even though he graduated in 2009 and obviously didn't play a down this year, it was appropriate that Heath was there since he still might have played a role in Lake Orion's first ever state title.
For those who remember, Heath provided one of the most memorable plays in the history of Lake Orion athletics, miraculously drilling a 49-yard field goal in the final seconds to lead the Dragons to a 38-36 win over Sterling Heights Stevenson in a Division 1 regional final in 2008.
Heath hadn't made more than a 32-yarder all year and had no time to warm up, yet still made the kick.
Lake Orion went on to hammer Dearborn Fordson in the final before losing in the final to Rockford.
Looking back, it's amazing how things might have been different had Heath not provided that miracle.
At that time, Lake Orion had a reputation for not being able to win the big game, and blowing what was a 35-7 third-quarter lead to Stevenson would've increased that weight by about a million times.
The word "choke," unfairly or not, would've been thrown around more than ever.
Even though Lake Orion returned to the state final this year, who knows how different the dynamic would've been if Heath didn't make that field goal?
A big reason the Dragons beat Plymouth was the fact they were not awed by the surroundings or the event of playing in a state final, which led to a 21-3 lead at halftime.
Would that have been the case if this were the first time Lake Orion had ever been in a state final and not 2008?
Would all that hoopla of making it to the final within the community been a distraction this year like it might have been in 2008?
Would the coaching staff at Lake Orion have been as prepared to handle all the logistical elements during the week of preparation as well as they did last month?
Thanks to Heath's kick that put Lake Orion in the final in 2008 and gave them invaluable experience, the focus this time was all about winning the state final, which greatly contributed to Lake Orion's title.
Not sure what the coaching staff at Lake Orion will do, but if you ask Kosmo, Jeff Heath deserves a state-championship ring even though he didn't suit up once this season.


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