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GAME OF THE WEEK: Everest Collegiate nabs first-ever playoff win, downs Our Lady of the Lakes with late score

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The Mountaineers scored a go-ahead touchdown with 1:14 to play to capture a 22-21 win Saturday.

Game Info

Football - 10/29/2016 

Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes 21
Clarkston Everest Collegiate 22
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WATERFORD — With the game boiled down to a single make-or-break play, Clarkston Everest Collegiate wrote its way into the school’s history books Saturday, scoring a go-ahead touchdown on a critical fourth-and-goal pass with just over one minute remaining.

Facing Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes in the first round of the Division 8 playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, Everest did what it had failed to do on each previous attempt – win. The Mountaineers recorded the program’s first-ever postseason victory, 22-21, and just as significantly, the first win over its chief rival, the Lakers.

“This is something we’ve been building toward and something we’ve been reaching higher for,” Everest coach Mike Pruchnicki said. “I’m just proud of these guys. We were 15 (players) strong and did pick up a couple more guys, but this is pretty unbelievable. Their fight and their intensity is a lot of fun.”

With time winding down, Everest (8-2) had pieced together a long drive to maneuver into a goal-to-go situation, but faced a fourth down at the WOLL five yard line.

Following a timeout to talk things over, junior quarterback Grant Burgess stood in the pocket to deliver an arching pass just over the reach of a defender to senior Alex Legg, who hauled in the pass at the goal line.

“Coach saw an opportunity and I just ran my route,” Legg said. “I trusted my coach, my quarterback and the O-Line to do a great job to protect him. Everything fell into place perfectly.”

Everest’s two-point conversion attempt fell incomplete, leaving the Mountaineers in front by one point, 22-21, with 1:14 remaining.

Playing in desperation mode, Our Lady of the Lakes (6-4) was unable to complete a pass on the ensuing drive, allowing the Mountaineers to retake possession and kneel down to end the contest.

Everest’s game-winning drive was made possible by a critical defensive stop at the other end of the field with 6:38 to play in the fourth quarter. The Mountaineers stacked up the Lakers’ ball-carrier on fourth-and-short, taking over on downs and keeping it at a five-point deficit.

“We stuck with our defensive gameplan and our D-Line did an amazing job of staying low and keeping their linemen off of our linebackers,” Legg said. “We just played our game, trusted the coaches and got the job done there.”

Multiple third down conversions, including a pair of catches by sophomore Nino Mastromatteo and a huge, improvised run by Burgess helped Everest move the chains into position for the winning touchdown.

“I knew it would come down to a couple of plays. It’s a game of inches,” WOLL coach Josh Sawicki said. “Another inch and we’d knock that (fourth down) pass away, but we didn’t.”

Our Lady of the Lakes led 7-3 at halftime and at one time held a 21-10 advantage just before the end of the third quarter. Everest was resilient, however, scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns in dramatic fashion.

During the regular season, the teams played an overtime thriller that the Lakers won, 34-31. Until 2013, when Everest established its own football program, the two schools combined players for a joint team competing under the Our Lady of the Lakes name. Saturday marked the sixth time the two programs had squared off, with each previous contest ending in a Lakers victory.

“This win couldn’t have come at a better time,” Legg said. “I’ve been here since my freshman year and I’ve just been waiting for this opportunity with all of the guys on this team. We were just fighting for me and all of the seniors and the alumni that have played on this team too.”

As the smallest school in terms of enrollment in the entire state playoff field, Everest’s roster boasts just 17 players, most of which play offense and defense.

“It was pure heart and pure grit,” Pruchnicki said. “You see that we don’t have a guy over 200 pounds, but we just keep coming after it.”

The Mountaineers advance to face Royal Oak Shrine in the district final – a game which will be a rematch of Shrine’s 38-14 victory two weeks ago.

CLARKSTON EVEREST COLLEGIATE 22, WATERFORD OUR LADY OF THE LAKES 21

EC 0 3 7 12 — 22

OL 0 7 14 0 — 21

Scoring —

OL — Kurt Romkema 4-yard touchdown run (5:30, 2nd)

EC — Simon Fenske 20-yard field goal (0:06, 2nd)

OL — Isaac Oliver 53-yard touchdown run (11:24, 3rd)

EC — Alex Legg 53-yard touchdown catch from Grant Burgess (10:19, 3rd)

OL — Oliver 1-yard touchdown run (0:14, 3rd)

EC — Nino Mastromatteo 31-yard catch from Burgess (10:34, 4th)

EC — Legg 5-yard pass from Burgess (1:14, 4th)

RECORDS — Everest Collegiate 8-2; Our Lady of the Lakes 6-4

Last Updated: 10/29/2016 4:59:09 PM EST


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