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FOOTBALL: Novi squeeks out 15-13 victory over Livonia Stevenson WITH TOUT VIDEOS

NOVI — Maybe last week was an aberration for Novi.

During last week’s 36-13 loss to South Lyon, the Wildcats looked like an entirely different team than a team coming off a three game win streak. However on Friday night during homecoming, Novi’s defense rebounded with two solid stops.

Thanks to those two defensive stops, Novi beat Livonia Stevenson 15-13.

“First of all I want to commend the fans that stayed (through the lightning delay). Our kids really feed off them, and for them to stick around was outstanding,” Novi head coach Jeff Burnside said.

“We are a pound it, and play good defense type of team. Both teams played their hearts out.”

The Wildcats held a 9-7 lead when the head official saw lightning in the distance. His observation led to a 30:00 minute weather delay with 4:24 left in the third quarter.

After play resumed, Novi (4-2, 3- KLAA Central) built on its lead early in the fourth quarter on a fourth-and-goal from the four-yard line. Novi, who likes to use two quarterbacks, went with the starter junior Billy Ulle to punch the ball in. After the snap, Ulle rolled to his left and floated a pass to junior Nick Meadors for a 15-7 lead. The extra point was blocked.

Then, Novi’s defense had to step up.

The first time was on a Stevenson (2-4, 1-3 KLAA Central) drive that took up seven minutes. As the Spartans knocked on the doorstep, head coach Randy Micallef wanted to run the football.

Stevenson successfully ran down to the one-yard line on fourth and goal. On fourth down, Novi’s defense strung out Stevenson’s run play to the right as senior Marshall Sayles recorded the tackle to end the drive.

Stevenson would cause a three-and-out on the ensuing drive, and take over the ball on the 42-yard line. On the next play Devin Kelly ran a sweep and scored to bring the Spartans within two, 15-13, with 3:19 left in the game.

On the two point conversion, the Wildcats’ defense stepped up again and shut down a run play to the left side to keep the two score advantage, and allow the offense to run the ball, and the clock, out.

Novi’s defense allowed a total of 218 yards, recovered four fumbles, had five sacks, and had 11 tackles for loss.

Novi junior running back Jalen Ward (132 yards on 30 carries) ran off the clock with the help of a big third-and-three 11-yard run that would allow Novi to preserve the win.

“(Ward) has stepped up. We have a good stable of backs and we’ll feed whoever is working hard. When we needed him to get a couple first downs on our last drive, it was huge. A lot of those runs were on second effort runs, and Jalen ran it hard,” Burnside said.

Ward helped the Wildcats get points on its second drive of the game after the defense recovered a fumble on Stevenson’s opening possession. Four plays later, Ward would cap the drive with a 16-yard touchdown run to give Novi a 6-0 lead with 9:23 left in the first quarter.

Novi kicker Bryan Klosterman hit a 34-yard kick with 10:52 left in the second quarter for a 9-0 lead before Stevenson would get a 25-yard touchdown pass from CJ Weiss to Billy Bonanno that cut into the lead.

Next week the Wildcats will look to win back the Baseline Jug against rival Northville, who has kept the jug since 2008.

Earlier in the year during the KLAA Media Day Northville head coach Matt Ladach said it was “an expectation to beat Novi.”

“That’s fresh in our mind,” Burnside said. “Matt is a good guy, and I respect him. It’s a great rivalry, and we need to bring our ‘A Game’. If we play with some of our miscues that we had today, it wouldn’t fly next week.

“Luckily, our kids get how big the rivalry is.”

Last Updated: 10/5/2013 12:41:46 PM EST

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