Orchard Lake- Walled Lake Western traveled to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s on Thursday night for the season opener for both schools. The game would feature two of the top teams in Oakland County. The Eaglets took the field with veteran coach George Porritt to begin his thirty-first season as the school’s coach. Western on the other hand, was led on the field for the first time by head coach Mike Weiskopf who made his head coaching debut.
The teams were deadlocked after two quarters of play with the Eaglets taking advantage of an early fumble by the Warriors when junior Charles Collins jumped on the pigskin at the Warriors’ 28-yard line. The Eaglets’ offense would convert the turnover into a 7-0 lead after junior tailback Tommy Bauss scampered 21 yards to the end zone.
Western would tie the game at 7-7 after senior Zach Trainor, Western’s 2019 all state quarterback found junior Thomas Young open for an 11-yard TD strike. The score was aided by an Eaglet’s personal foul followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Western junior kicker Adam Lampela split the uprights with the extra point to end the quarter.
The second quarter was scoreless as the Warriors’ defense had their biggest play of the night when Western’s sophomore defensive back Darius Taylor outmuscled an Eaglet receiver for the football at the Warriors’ ten-yard line to intercept a pass. Western would then run out the clock and both teams headed to the half gridlocked at 7-7.
Tale of two Halves
The second half belonged to the St. Mary’s as the Eaglets scored 21 unanswered points, shutting out Western for the final thirty-six minutes of the game. Once again, it was Bauss who made the big play for the Eaglets as he took a handoff, ran off tackle, bounced outside and outraced the Warriors to the pylon to give his team a 14-7 lead with 9:39 left in the third quarter. Bauss would finish with 143 yards on the ground to go with his two scores.
After a long drive stalled at the Western 26-yard line, veteran coach George Porritt elected to send his all-state kicker, Tommy Doman out to attempt a 44-yard field goal. Doman’s kick was no good, but the Warriors were called for a personal foul as they roughed the kicker. After the new set of downs and the ball placed at the Western 12-yard line, the Eaglets took advantage of the Warriors’ penalty as tailback Lance Hillie scored from six yards out to put OLSM up two scores, 21-7 at the end of the third quarter. Doman was a key-factor in the victory for OLSM. The University of Michigan commit was perfect on all four extra points and booted five touchbacks with two of them splitting the uprights, flying out of the end zone.
Defense wins championships
The Eaglets never looked back after Bauss’s second score, and continued to make a statement defensively as defensive back Raid Zerki picked off a Trainor pass in the fourth quarter. The pick set up another touchdown by Hillie as the senior found pay dirt on a 2-yard plunge for the game’s final score.
Zerki’s pick, coupled with the fumble recovery by Collins in the first quarter set up two of the four Eaglet scores on the night. The Eaglets’ defensive line was also stingy all night, recording five sacks and pressuring Trainor throughout the game.
The Warriors (0-1) will travel to Waterford Mott next week to take on the Corsairs. OLSM (1-0) will make the trek to “The D” to clash with Warren DeLaSalle in a Catholic League matchup at Wayne State University.