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Hazel Park hands Seaholm its third straight loss

HAZEL PARK — It's no secret that Hazel Park's success on the football field this season has been due to a solid running game.

Senior Dakota Ogles — in particular — has been the offensive star, hands-down.

The Vikings found out on Friday night that it's OK to stray from the norm once in awhile.

A rare touchdown pass and a solid defensive effort proved to be the difference makers for Hazel Park, as the Vikings topped Birmingham Seaholm 30-10 in an Oakland Activities Association Blue Division match-up.

"I wouldn't say we're balanced because we obviously run 95 percent of the time, but when they give us the pass, we try to take it," Hazel Park coach Scott Guthrie said. "It's nice to see we did execute well when we had to."

The Vikings showed their ability to bounce back from last week's 43-26 non-conference loss at Saginaw Nouvel and improved to 5-1 overall and 5-0 in the league to remain in a tie for first place with Berkley High.

"We had to win today," Hazel Park sophomore quarterback Andrew McClelland said.

"It was a must if we want to think about the future, playoffs, league champs and all this talk about that. We had to get this win."

Hazel Park and the Bears are slated to face-off in a potential tiebreaker match at Berkley on Oct. 15.

Berkley improved to 6-0 and 5-0 in the conference overall with a 38-20 victory over North Farmington on Friday.

McClellan connected for just his third touchdown pass of the season to put the Vikings on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter.

The Vikings then enjoyed an offensive attack that featured many different individuals, instead of just the solid running of Ogles.

Still, Ogles managed to lead Hazel Park with 170 yards on the ground and one touchdown in his first game back from an injury.

"He's a hard runner," Guthrie said. "He's got that home run threat. We've just got to get him back in game shape. He's got to get his legs back."

Knowing there are many different weapons can only help down the stretch.

"It builds up our confidence for sure," McClellan said. "In the past, we've had a lot of trouble stopping passing teams, and our D backs really stepped it up on practice and in the game today and came really focused."

Speedster Kevin Wilberding racked up 80 yards on a kickoff return to give Seaholm great field position after falling behind 6-0 in the first quarter.

Wilberding completed the efficient drive by running 13 yards into the end zone to help Seaholm take a 7-6 lead less than one minute after Hazel Park put numbers on the scoreboard.

"He plays 150 percent every time he hits the field," Fahr said. "It's such a blessing to have him with us. He's always going to give us something."

Unfortunately for the Maples, Hazel Park's defense from that point on was too much to overcome.

That's saying something considering the Vikings have allowed 168 points on the season, including 50 points earlier this season in a win over Auburn Hills Avondale.

John Mann contributed to Hazel Park's defensive performance by recovering a kickoff in the end zone for a safety and by recording two of the team's 33 tackles. Mann also intercepted a pass early in the fourth quarter to dash Seaholm’s rally chances.

Hazel Park held Seaholm to just eight first downs the entire game.

"Everybody just did their job and got the job done," Mann said.

Senior Ralph Hopkins had 71 yards rushing and one touchdown to help Hazel Park finish with 358 yards on the ground.

The Vikings posted 403 yards of total offense compared to Seaholm’s 128.

After opening up the season 3-0, the Maples have now lost three straight to put their playoff chances in jeopardy.

Seaholm fell to 3-3 overall and 3-2 in the OAA Blue.

Seaholm is feeling the loss of defensive back/wide receiver Chris Barr, who has been sidelined the last two weeks with an ankle injury. In addition, wide receiver/defensive back Shawn Conway is back on a limited basis because of his ankle sprain.

"We're playing without, arguably, our two best players right now," Seaholm coach Chris Fahr said, "With Shawn Conway at about 50 percent and Chris Barr isn't playing. He hasn't played in two weeks. It's not an excuse, we need to have people step up, but it's definitely two big players that can't bring it to the table."

Last Updated: 10/2/2010 5:02:51 PM EST

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