By: Dan Stickradt
FOOTBALL: Adams holds on to clip Clarkston
BY DAN STICKRADT
ROCHESTER HILLS — Going back a quarter century, Rochester Adams and Clarkston have engaged in numerous classic football battles.
Friday’s collision on the grid-iron was another one of those clashes of the titans.
Rochester Adams held on for a 21-14 victory over the visiting Wolves in an OAA Red Division showdown featuring two of the league’s three leaders. The Highlanders now remain in a first-place tie with West Bloomfield with one league game remaining.
Adams was spearhead by the play of senior two-way starter Stephen Roncelli, who was a workhorse on both sides of the football, finished the night with 17 carries for 130 yards, had seven tackles, recovered a fumble and scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown for the Highlanders.
“Last year they beat us, so we had a lot to prove,” said the Eastern Michigan-bound Roncelli. “They have such a great team. I thought our defense stepped up.”
Adams, which made its return to the OAA-Red this season for the first time in a decade, led 7-0 at the break, courtesy of a 51-yard dash by senior Chase Kareta.
The talented Kareta, who added 107 yards on 13 carries, scored again with 5:11 to go in the third stanza with his diving sweep for four yards.
The Highlanders (6-1, 5-1) upped the ante to 21-0 with 8:10 to play. Following Roncelli’s fumble recovery on the Clarkston 11, Roncelli took the draw and raced home on the next play for what proved to be the game-deciding play.
“Clarkston is such a classy team, well-coached and we knew this would be a close game,” said Adams coach tony Patritto. “Stephen Roncelli was over tonight, He’s one of the best (two-way) players in the state. He made a big difference in this game. He came up huge for us numerous times.
“We new this would be close. We’ve had some great games with Clarkston over the years,” continued Patritto. “We expected this type of game with them. The whole (OAA-Red) is that way. You expect to have a lot of close games.”
Clarkston scored twice down the stretch to make the game interesting but could gain the equalizer drive.
The Wolves (5-2, 4-2) scored on a 1-yard plunge from senior Josh Cantu with 6:26 left. After an onside kick recovery, Clarkston put together a quick four-play drive which ender with Tieler Houston snaring an 11-yard toss from senior Nathan Uballe with 5:58 left to close the gap down to seven points.
Clarkston did have two more cracks to score, but turned the ball over on downs twice, including once at the Adams 35.
“They kicked our butts up front for three quarters,” admitted Clarkston coach Kurt Richardson. “That No. 4 (Roncelli) was all over the place. He was huge for them. We got him a scholarship tonight.
“This was a great high school football game,” continued Richardson. “We just came up on the short end (of the stick).”
Houston had five catches for 107 yards, while Uballe was only 8-for-26 passing for 124 yards for Clarkston.