By: Nate Schneider
Rochester Adams football getting defensive
With how well Rochester Adams was playing defensively to date this season, the play was entirely out of character.
In a 10-10 game with the fourth quarter just underway, the Highlanders had West Bloomfield backed up to its own 1-yard line facing a third-and-all.
The consensus throughout the Highlanders coaching staff, players and home faithful was likely that they were going to force a punt and end up with great field position.
Not so fast.
Rochester Adams suffered its first loss of the season largely due to what happened next as Lakers quarterback Bryce Veasley found Tre Mosley on the left sideline. While the pass was already good enough for a first down, Mosley would break a tackle and use his speed to race in front of the Highlanders bench all the way to the end zone for an improbable 99-yard touchdown.
“For 99 percent of the plays, our kids played great defense and shut their Division I kids down,” Rochester Adams head coach Tony Patritto said. “We had one breakdown on one play and look what happens.”
Adams did end up scoring with 2:34 left on a 3-yard TD run by Chase Kareta, but after a timeout the Highlanders went for a 2-point conversion and failed as they suffered a 17-16 loss.
Even so, the game highlighted everything the Highlanders are about: a clock-chewing rushing attack and an in-your-face defense that propelled them to four convincing wins before the heartbreaking defeat to West Bloomfield.
In week one, Adams blasted rival Rochester 38-6 for its 20th consecutive victory in the series. That was followed by a 39-8 triumph over Lake Orion and a 33-13 win against Oxford before recording perhaps its most convincing win of the season thus far, a 54-14 shellacking over Bloomfield Hills.
“I don’t care who we’re playing against,” Patritto said. “It doesn’t matter who is on the other sideline. Our gameplan is our gameplan. Play great defense, make first downs with the run game, keep possession, take advantage of heavy lines and throw the ball on play-action. That was our game plan the first four weeks and it wasn’t going to change just because of the caliber of athletes West Bloomfield has.”
The Highlanders ended up rushing for 295 yards on 57 carries in the contest, with senior quarterback Zach Soldan gaining 124 on 20 carries.
Meanwhile, they showed their defensive prowess by limiting West Bloomfield to only 57 yards in the first half and continued to make life tough in the second half aside from a couple plays including the 99-yarder.
Adams finished 6-4 last year to snap a two-year playoff drought. The schedule continues to be difficult the next two weeks with Southfield and Clarkston on tap before the Highlanders wrap up the regular season versus struggling programs in Troy Athens and Stoney Creek.
“You can’t be happy about this game,” Patritto added. “My big deal is get better every week and we kind of took a step backwards this week in terms of execution on offense especially. I’m never happy with that, but we have another huge test next week and we’ve got to get better to meet that challenge.”