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Posted: 10/10/12

Above, Mike Archutowski reaching as far as he can to try and block the pass being thrown by the Eisenhower quarterback Oct. 5. Below, Austin Bernard rushing in to try and block the extra point against Eisenhower.

(Observer photos by Mike Nicley)

Romeo now in a fight
to gain playoff spot

Observer Sports Writer
      Down but not out.
       The Romeo High varsity football team lost to rival Utica Eisenhower 20-10 on Friday night, dropping the Bulldogs record to 3-4 overall.
       Normally four losses would mean the end to Romeo's chance at making the state playoffs for the ninth straight year. However, the Michigan High School football playoffs, which is set up so that six wins will get you in the playoffs automatically, almost always has a few 5-4 teams that also make it in based on points. It works like this, if there are not enough six win teams to fill out the 258-team brackets, they start looking at the 5-4 teams with the most points.
       It is about strength of schedule; Romeo has quality wins over Chippewa Valley, L'Anse Creuse North and Port Huron who are all 5-2 right now and will probably win a couple more before they are done. If the Bulldogs win their next two games, and they should against Utica Ford (0-7) and Anchor Bay (1-6), combined with their other wins they have already, they just might get in.
       "We still have a lot to play for," said Romeo senior lineman Austin Doan. "I looked at the point totals of the other four loss schools and we were at the top so we still have a shot at making it again for the ninth time in a row. I know that the seniors do not want to be on the team that breaks that streak."
       As for the game against Ike, the Bulldogs took their only lead of the night with 6:41 left in the first quarter on a 28-yard field goal by George Pollak that made it 3-0.
       The game stayed that way for a while until the Eagles took a 7-3 lead midway through the second quarter on a 6-yard touchdown run by Shane King that was set up by 35 yards worth of penalties on the same play, which gave Eisenhower the ball at the Bulldog 6-yard line.
       "They called us for roughing the passer, then they threw a couple more flags when everyone voiced their disagreement," said Doan. "I think it's time we stop feeling as if we are being persecuted and accept what calls the refs make, bad or good. We have too much to play for."
       Ike added another three points late in the half on a 34-yard field goal by Eric Dulinski to take a 10-3 lead into the locker room, which proved important because the rain, which had been steady all night, increased a bit in the second half, making it difficult for either team to use a passing attack. The Eagles stayed to the ground for the most part in the second half and it proved successful, out-rushing the Bulldogs, 144 to 60, for the game.
       After a scoreless third quarter, Ike scored again on a Grant Davis 12-yard run early in the fourth quarter that put the Eagles up 17-3.
       Romeo answered when senior quarterback Evan Richardson (10 carries for 28 yards) scrambled for a six-yard touchdown run to make it a seven point game at 17-10 with 8:07 left in the game to make things interesting.
       However, the Eagles were able to put the game away with an 18-yard field goal by Dulinski with just over two minutes remaining in the game.
       As expected, both quarterbacks struggled to get anything going on such a rainy night: Ike's Joe Zerafa was 6-for-12 for 86 yards and an interception. Richardson, meanwhile, finished 6-of-17 for 87 yards and two interceptions.
       The Romeo defense was led by defensive end Blake Williams who had eight tackles; Mike Archutowski, Austin Bernard (one sack) and Joe Gardner had six tackles each, Charles Roth finished with five tackles and one interception and Brandon Lebioda made one tackle and recovered a fumble.
       Eisenhower improved to 2-2 in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division and 5-2 overall while Romeo, which plays Utica Ford II at Stevenson's field this Friday night, fell 1-3 in the Red and 3-4 overall.
       "Every game is a playoff game for sure now," said Doan. "We can't take anything for granted. It doesn't matter what Ford and Anchor Bay's record is, we have to win."

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