Boys Varsity Football
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- Nov 8, 2019
- EAGLES: 27
LAKE ORION HIGH SCHOOL: 20
Utica Eisenhower strikes early, holds off Lake Orion, 27-20, for district title
LAKE ORION — Utica Eisenhower’s first-half lead was just too much for Lake Orion to overcome.
“That first half, defensively, I thought we did an outstanding job. I know (Lake Orion) has done a great job running the ball. I thought we did a nice job, especially, in the first half shutting that run down,’’ Eisenhower coach Chris Smith said.
Eisenhower defeated Lake Orion, 27-20, in the Division 1 MHSAA football district finals at Lake Orion on Friday night.
The Eagles (9-2) advance to play Davison in the regional finals.
It was just the second loss for the Dragons (9-2) all season.
“On both sides of the ball we started to play better in the second half. We got back into attack mode, but just couldn’t finish it off,’’ Lake Orion coach John Blackstock said. “They’re a great team, they attacked the whole night, they were physical up front, that posed some problems for us. They were the better team tonight.’’
Lake Orion got on the scoreboard first with a 37-yard field goal by Connor Ross in the first quarter. The score was set up when the Dragons recovered an Eisenhower fumble on the Eagles’ opening possession. The 16-play drive ate up 6:48 on the clock.
When Eisenhower got the ball back, the Eagles scored on a 24-yard pass from senior quarterback Blake Rastigue to sophomore receiver Ethan Barker to cap a 10-play drive. The extra point was good, giving the Eagles a 7-3 lead with 10:51 remaining in the second quarter.
On Eisenhower’s next possession, Rastigue was intercepted by Joe Cody who returned the ball to the Eagles’ five-yard line. Senior Kobe Manzo ran it in on first-and-goal. Ross’s extra-point kick was low but good giving Lake Orion a 10-7 lead.
Eisenhower’s Steven Nadolski beat the coverage and scored on a 57-yard pass play from Rastigue with 4:35 left in the half. With the extra point, Eisenhower took a 14-10 lead.
Lake Orion was forced to punt on its next possession.
Eisenhower got the ball back with 2:13 left in the half. Rastigue hit Barker for a 23-yard gain from Lake Orion’s 24 and Nadolski ran it in one yard for the touchdown with 31.2 second left. The point-after attempt was no good.
Eisenhower went into the half with a 20-10 lead.
“(That touchdown) gave us the win so it’s pretty important, it gave us momentum going into the half and a little breathing room having a two-score lead at that point,’’ Smith said.
In the third quarter the Eagles added to their lead with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Rastigue to Ian West.
Late in the third quarter, Lake Orion’s Blaze Lauer connected with Mitchell Howell on a 4-yard touchdown pass, cutting Eisenhower’s lead to 27-17.
Then Ross kicked a 19-yard field goal with 2:32 left.
“They didn’t do anything differently, that’s how they play. They’re a tough, physical team and they play fast and we knew that coming in,’’ Blackstock said. “I think we’re all disappointed with how we started in the first half and didn’t capitalize some things in the second half at the end of the game. Couldn’t be more proud of these guys.’’
Last year, Lake Orion lost to Clarkston in pre-districts while Eisenhower fell to Chippewa Valley, the eventual state champ, in pre-districts.