Waterford Mott holds on to beat White Lake Lakeland 26-19 (Story by: Terry Foster)

Written by
Jeff Corrion
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Jeff Corrion

Waterford Mott coach Chris Fahr did not immediately join his team in the dressing room during half time of Thursday’s key Lakes Valley Conference game against White Lake Lakeland. He remained on the field to give officials a piece of his mind after what he believed to be lopsided officiating.

Fahr tells his players not to battle officials on the field because he’s got their backs.

Mott overcame a host of major penalties and a 10-6 half-time deficit to edge Lakeland 26-19 on its home field, avenging a tightly contested 29-27 loss last season at Lakeland. The latest clash wasn’t decided until Mott defended a trio of Hail Mary passes near the end zone, the last one batted down by defensive back Kamariell Manley.

Fahr made his point and once the penalties subsided Mott turned into playmakers on offense while the defense did a better job of controlling Eagles runningbacks Robbie Tracy and Dakota Meyers.

Mott led by just one point, 20-19, with under a minute to play when White Lake Lakeland players filled coach Joe Woodruff’s head with whispers of allowing Mott to score from the 8-yard line. The Eagles let Mott running back Marcus Guerrero rumble from 8 yards out with 0:23 remaining to give their offense one more shot to tie the game rather than have Mott run out the clock.

“I said that’s a doggone good idea,” Woodruff said. “I’ve been coaching 31 years and never would have thought of that. I’ve got smart kids.”

It was a good idea, but it did not work as quarterback Brady Woodruff flung four passes from the 50-yard line inside the 10. None connected.

Lakeland built its 10-6 half time lead on a one-yard plunge by the 220-pound battering ram Meyers and a 29-yard field goal by Leo Skupin.

The two teams entertained a Cancer Awareness crowd with a contrast in styles. Lakeland pounded the ball between the tackles while Mott attacked out of a spread offense. Lakeland kept the home team under control until Mott quarterback Matthew Castillo hit wide out Christian Fitzpatrick on a 62-yard scoring play with 3:50 remaining in the third quarter, tying the score 13-13.

A White Lake Lakeland defender tried to jump the pattern, missed, and Fitzpatrick was off to the races.

“I could feel the DB swipe at the ball,” Fitzpatrick said. “When he missed I just used my speed.”

This game featured drama right to the end. After Mott took the lead 20-13 following big runs by Guerrero and Kobe Myers, Lakeland fought back. Dakota Myers sliced the lead to 20-19 from a yard out with 5:55 remaining in the game. Lakeland made the extra point to tie it, but Mott jumped offside - again.

The Eagles came back out in its goal line formation and fed the ball to Myers again hoping to go ahead by one. But he was stuffed and Mott defenders raced off the field in celebration.

Woodruff believes in his team. That’s why he made the move.

“When we get the ball on the one and a half yard line to win the game, we are going to do it,” Woodruff told his team after the game. “I don’t doubt you one bit. If we can’t get the ball in from the one and a half yard line we don’t deserve to win that game. We made enough mistakes where he should not have been there.”

Mott was waiting for him.

“I knew they were going to give the ball to number 47,” said emotional safety Keimonnee Fields who made big hits followed by big screams. “We had to maintain our lanes and get to him.”