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Posted: 11/13/13

Senior Jason Sammut checking with the ref as he is trying to stop the ball from going into the end zone from a Romeo punt during district playoffs Nov. 8. Below, sophomore Lucas Schimon in the closing minutes of the game avoiding a Clarkston tackle.

(Observer photos by Mike Nicley)

Romeo Bulldogs strike first but
Clarkston rolls to 42-10 district win

Observer Sports Writer
      With a district championship on the line, Clarkston quarterback D.J. Zezula finished with 223 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Wolves to a 42-10 win over Romeo Friday night at Clarkston.
       With the win, Clarkston (10-1) will advance to the regional semifinal this weekend against OAA rival Rochester Adams.
       Romeo (6-4) entered the game as the underdog, despite knocking off favorite Lake Orion a week ago. They showed they were ready to play early on, driving 80 yards on their opening drive to take a 7-0 lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by senior Mitch Hess.
       The Bulldogs then fooled Clarkston with an onside kick setting up another possible score, but the Wolves stiffened on defense, forcing a punt. Clarkston took over from there.
       The Wolves, mixing in passing with some nice runs, quickly moved down field and tied the game at 7-7 on a 29-yard run by Ian Eriksen.
       Clarkston would score twice more in the second quarter to lead 21-7 at the half.
       The first Wolves' score came on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Zezula to Shane Holler early in the second to put Clarkston up 14-7, and the second score came later on a 38-yard pass to Caine Watlington from Zezula with just 13 seconds remaining in the half.
       Things didn't improve for the Bulldogs with the start of the second half as Eriksen (17 carries for 204 yards) took the ball up the middle for a 68-yard touchdown on the Wolves first play from scrimmage in the third for a 28-7 lead. Clarkston started the half with a successful on side kick of their own.
       Showing grit, the Bulldogs responded with a 32-yard field goal by lefty kicker Andrew Behring to cut the lead to 28-10, but that was it for Romeo.
       Zezula connected with Tim Cason for a 19-yard touchdown pass to make it 35-10 Wolves later in the third and running back Centrus Williams Jr. tacked on a 7-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to round out the scoring.
       Romeo sophomore quarterback Paul Hurley, who has led the Bulldogs since taking over for the injured Zach Rizo midway through the season, finished with 72 yards passing on 10 of 18 attempts and 13 yards rushing on two carries, before leaving the game with an injury himself.
       Sophomore running back Lucas Schimon led the Bulldogs on the ground with 85 yards on 18 carries; senior Alec Hanser rushed four times for 40 yards and Hess, who also caught two passes for 33-yards, had 37 yards on eight carries.
       Senior Mitch Pacitti had four receptions for 25 yards.
       Senior Jake Archutowski led the defense with eight tackles; junior Nate Conner had five tackles and one fumble recovery, senior Brandon Lebioda had seven tackles and forced a fumble and senior Blake Williams finished with four tackles and recovered one Clarkston fumble.

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