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Football Recap, Week 5: Battle for Position

Division races in the Oakland Activities Association are starting to take shape after another great group of games.

The races in the Oakland Activities Association Red, White and Blue divisions are starting to really take shape.

Harrison is the clear front-runner in the White and should run the table.

The battle for second place is a little more heated. Farmington had a big win over Adams on Friday to make it a three-way battle between those two teams and Southfield. All three teams are currently 3-1 in the division. 

In the Blue, the division title is up for grabs with Avondale, Groves and Berkley tied at the top with one loss each. Losses for Seaholm and Lahser over the weekend have dropped the schools to the middle of the pack.

Lake Orion still is undefeated in the Red division, but it has games against all three teams in second place left on the schedule. Troy, Troy Athens and Clarkston are all 3-1 in the Red and still have a chance to upset the Dragons and grab a share of first place.

Discussion Points

Quote of the Week: The second half of the season is now officially under way, and coaches know how important each division game is. Two quotes from the weekend highlight the point.

Avondale head coach Steve Deutsch emphasized to his players all week how important beating Seaholm was.

“We told the kids, no matter what happens the rest of the year, this is the game,” Deutsch said. “If we lose two in a row, after the start we had, our schedule doesn’t get any easier. This league is so tough, and it’s so evenly balanced, that it just doesn’t get easier.”

Troy head coach Gary Griffith called his team’s game against West Bloomfield a pivotal one.

"We were both 2-2 coming into this game, and we knew that the loser wouldn't have much room for error for the rest of the season," Griffith said. 

Stat of the Week: Every coach says preventing turnovers is critical to winning football games — but two teams didn’t get the memo last week. Lahser turned the ball over six times against Berkley. Not to be outdone, Rochester turned the ball over seven times against Troy Athens.

Player of the Week: Mitch Robinson (QB; Avondale) gets the spotlight this week. He put up solid overall numbers again for the Yellow Jackets — 158 yards rushing on 17 carries, 6-for-15 passing for 128 yards and two touchdowns. But more importantly, his leadership and poise helped his team come back from a 15-7 first half deficit.

Honorable Mentions: Oliver Jiang (RB; Troy); Omar Sitto (RB; Berkley); Tony Annese (QB; Adams) 

Out of Bounds: It’s officially homecoming season, and that means teams across the OAA are celebrating the event in many different ways. Rochester honored alumni from the Class of 1956 at its game over the weekend. Berkley was so excited about its homecoming win that players gave head coach Jeff Burnside a Gatorade bath as the clock expired. 

Game Highlights

1st DOWN: GAME OF THE WEEK AVONDALE over Seaholm 29-26

What we learned: Avondale has a lot of fight left. After losing to Ferndale last week and almost losing to Andover two weeks ago, the two worst teams in the OAA Blue, the Yellow Jackets were on the ropes. The team responded in a big way with its win over Seaholm.

Mitch Robinson was good, as always, but the team’s defense really came to play. It completely shut down the Maples' run game and came up with some big plays late in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Last year, Avondale couldn’t count on its defense for anything. Come playoff time, that will be a big advantage this year over last.

Question Marks: Seaholm hasn’t been able to run the ball all season, and that's catching up to it. The Maples had an early lead but couldn’t come up with first downs when it needed to keep the ball away from Avondale’s offense. Coach Jim Pobursky said one of the focuses going forward is going to be finding a way for his offense to get that run game going.

Next Week: Seaholm welcomes Hazel Park at 7 p.m. Friday for its homecoming game. Avondale has another big game at Groves at 7 p.m. Friday.

Full Recap: For a recap with quotes from both coaches,

2nd DOWN: SOUTHFIELD over Adams 34-31

What we learned: Adams quarterback Tony Annese had a pretty bad stomach bug, and that helps explain the four turnovers. He still put up solid numbers, but the Highlanders weren’t 100 percent on their game Saturday.

Question Marks: Pass defense has been an issue for Adams this season, and it was again against Southfield. Blue Jays quarterback Justin Danzy had more than 20 completions and 280 yards in the win.

Next Week: Adams hosts Oxford at 7 p.m. Friday.

3rd DOWN: Troy Athens over ROCHESTER 21-13

What we learned: Troy Athens has proven its run game can win games; on Friday, it proved its defense can, too. It forced seven turnovers in the win and looks like a team that is making improvements every week. The Red Hawks aren’t a flashy team, but they are proving themselves to be one of the top-tier teams in the OAA Red.

Question Marks: Rochester continues to hurt itself by making a lot of mistakes, especially on offense. The team has only scored more than 16 points once in six games, and against competition such as Lake Orion, the Troy teams and Clarkston, that’s just not going to get the Falcons a lot of wins.

Next Week: Troy Athens hosts West Bloomfield at 7 p.m. Friday, and Rochester hosts Clarkston at 7 p.m. Friday. 

Full Recap: For a full recap of the game,

4th DOWN: BERKLEY over Lahser 42-15

What we learned: Berkley is for real. For two weeks in a row, the Bears have used a combination of an effective run game and solid defense to give the team wins. This time, it forced six turnovers to help the team leapfrog Lahser in the standings. Performances like that will keep the Bears in any game.

Question Marks: What is going on with the Knights? That’s two consecutive weeks they’ve looked like a completely different team from the one that started the season 3-0.

Lahser likes to run the ball, and in the past two weeks, a big deficit has made it pass more; but the real problem is the defense. The Knights' defense has given up 86 points in the past two games. In the first three weeks, the Knights only gave up 34 points. They will need to shore things up quickly if they want to make the playoffs.

Next Week: Lahser hosts Warren Fitzgerald at 7 p.m. Friday, and Berkley visits North Farmington for a game at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Full Recap: for a homecoming-themed photo gallery. 

Other Results

OAA Blue

  • North Farmington over FERNDALE 12-6
  • Groves over ANDOVER 28-27

OAA Red

  • LAKE ORION over Royal Oak 49-14 – 
  • Troy over WEST BLOOMFIELD 42-13 –

OAA White

  • FARMINGTON over Oak Park 14-6
  • Harrison over LATHRUP 43-0
  • OXFORD over Stoney Creek 42-6

This Week

All games have 7 p.m. start times unless otherwise noted:

Game to watch: Avondale at Groves (Friday) and Farmington at Southfield (1 p.m. Saturday)

Friday (Sept. 30):

Andover at Ferndale

Hazel Park at Seaholm                 

Warren Fitzgerald at Lahser                 

West Bloomfield at Troy Athens (7:30 p.m.)

Lake Orion at Troy

Clarkston at Rochester                 

Oak Park at Harrison                 

Oxford at Adams                 

Southfield Lathrup at Stoney Creek                 

Saturday (Oct. 1):

Berkley at North Farmington (1 p.m.)                 

Royal Oak at Pontiac (2 p.m.)

Previous weeks

Have you missed any of our previous weekly recaps? Here’s a chance to catch up:

Sideline Report —

Sideline Report —

Sideline Report —  

Sideline Report —

Preseason Preview — 39-Page Look Ahead.

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