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FOOTBALL: Clawson strikes late to get win over South Lake

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Clawson’s pass-happy offense was patient at it had to be Friday night in a MAC crossover game at South Lake.

The usually explosive Trojans waited for the right time, before opening up the vertical playbook with under six-minutes to play.

“For the first time in a couple of years we had a team not put its heads in the ground and they committed themselves,” Clawson coach Jim Sparks said. “They felt that we were one play away and to the credit of our seniors they got it done.”

Entering the fourth quarter down a touchdown, the Trojans, who lived on a high concentration of bubble screens for most of the game, got their big vertical play when they needed it most.

Junior quarterback Ty Sparks delivered a perfect 68-yard pass to Marquian Johnson, who caught the ball in stride over the middle. The senior receiver then turned up field and muscled his way through two defensive backs en route to the end zone, lifting Clawson a 21-14 come-from-behind victory.

However, Johnson celebration was pre-empted by a yellow flag back at midfield.

“I was terrified,” said Johnson, who caught six passes for 100 yards. “I saw one of our receivers shaking his head so I thought it was a holding on him.”

To the relief of the Trojans, the call went against a South Lake defender.

Besides the win, which gives Clawson a 4-2 overall record, Johnson’s touchdown was gratifying for personal reasons. He caught the winning pass against his friend, who until that point of the game had shut him down.

“I was talking to (Jalen) Dingle before the game and he was saying that his coach moved him to strong safety this week instead of linebacker,” Johnson said. “He said his coach told him wherever I go he goes, so nothing deep. So I was really happy to rip that off.”

Johnson also had a key block that freed Charles Tarver on his 11-yard TD catch that tied the score at 14-14 with 5:38 left.

“I will put this on the record,” coach Sparks said, “Marq is the best receiver in the state of Michigan. He is under-rated and people need to look at this kid.”

Both teams entered Friday’s contest with 3-2 record desperately needed a win after losing two straight games. Clawson lost to Marine City and Clintondale by a combined 69 points.

“Hey, we haven’t beat these guys in a long time,” coach Sparks said. “We’re going to enjoy this for 24 hours, we are going to enjoy this like we haven’t enjoyed a game in a long time.”

Trojans quarterback Ty Sparks, who is averaging 16-yards per pass play this season, completed13-of-29 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns.

The teams exchanged long touchdown runs in the second quarter. Running back Donovan Holt sprinted to a 39-yard score to put Clawson up 7-0 with 9:27 left before halftime. Holt, a 5-foot-6 sophomore, finished with 69-yards on 14 carries.

On the ensuing drive, the Cavaliers scored the equalizing touchdown when Martell Pettaway took a handoff on a counter play and bolted through the defensive backfield on a 34-yard gallop. Pettaway had 14 carries in the first half for 140 yards.

Clawson’s defense came up big in the first half with interceptions by Tarver, safety Cam Campana, and cornerback Jake Sami. Two of the defensive plays ended South Lake drives inside Clawson territory, including Campana’s in the end zone.

Though South Lake’s defense didn’t have a turnover, it did force the Trojans’ offense to turn the ball over on downs four times throughout the game, including the first drive of the second half.

The defensive stop by the Cavaliers (3-3) was big because on the very next play, Pettaway, who is averaging 137 yards on the ground this season, snapped off a 78-yard TD run that restored South Lake’s lead 14-7. Pettaway finished with 261-yards rushing on 26 carries.



Clawson 21, South Lake 14

Clawson 0 7 0 14 - 21

South Lake 0 7 7 0 - 14

First Quarter

No scoring

Second Quarter

CHS – Donovan Holt 39 run (Olivia Paquette kick)

SL – Martell Pettaway 34 run (Sydney Pelt kick)

Third Quarter

SL – Martell Pettaway 78 run (Sydney Pelt kick)

Fourth Quarter

CHS – Ty Sparks 11 pass to Charles Traver (Olivia Paquette kick)

CHS – Ty Sparks 68 pass to Marquian Johnson (Olivia Paquette kick)

Last Updated: 10/5/2013 1:08:55 AM EST

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