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West Bloomfield's win over Lake Orion highlights the tremendous job Ron Bellamy has done at WB (Story by: Terry Foster)
West Bloomfield running back Donovan Edwards is a manners first “yes sir, “no sir’ kind of guy.
He is a freak in the weight room and geek in the classroom who mostly sits in the front row of class and maintains a 3.2 grade point average.
He is the son of a middle school vice principal, film student and knows where his other 10 teammates are supposed to be every moment.
Oh and one more thing, he is just a sophomore and played a big role at running back and quarterback in Friday’s 42-21 victory over Lake Orion at West Bloomfield’s Lakers Stadium.
Lake Orion (2-3 overall, 1-2 OAA Red) caught West Bloomfield (4-1, 3-1) off guard with a two tight end set to begin the game that helped pave the way to a 14-6 lead behind the running of Marlon Robinson Jr. and Kobe Manzo. West Bloomfield switched to a six-man front but its defensive ends were out of position most of the first quarter.
That would have spelled doom for the Lakers a few years ago because Coach Ron Bellamy lacked players like Edwards to turn games around and he was still trying to ingrain teachings from his former coach Lloyd Carr who he played for at the University of Michigan.
Everybody didn’t buy into Bellamy’s way at first. Now they do and West Bloomfield is easily one of the top 10 programs in the state and giving up a pair of early touchdowns is child’s play that is easy to overcome. West Bloomfield was the Division I state runner up to Clarkston last year with its only loss this season being a three-point heart breaker at Clarkston.
“The biggest thing we wanted to do was change the culture,” Bellamy said. “We changed the culture and the kids bought into it. I had a vision. I sat down with Lloyd Carr and he said you’ve got to trim the fat. You’ve got to get rid of things that were happening before. It took us time to get here. We are scratching the surface. We are not where we want to be but you can definitely see us making strides in the right direction.”
One of the problems a few years ago was the Lakers fielded a combined 1.7 grade point average in the classroom and that dreadful performance off the field often resulted in as many as 15 players being ineligible for games. Now the team holds a 3.0 grade point average and parades athletes like Tre Mosley (Michigan State bound) who caught touchdown passes of 60 and 62 yards to turn a close game into a blowout.
They can also turn to quarterback CJ Harris who threw the passes and linebacker Lance Dixon who is headed to Penn State.
West Bloomfield is so advanced as a program that players were not giddy over this 21-point victory. They mostly griped about giving up 14 points on Lake Orion’s first two possessions and were not thrilled that pint-sized kicker sophomore kicker Jake Ward kicked four field goals, because it meant the offense stalled and squandered third down chances.
But Edwards was special. He put the Lakers ahead for the first time (19-14) with 7:26 remaining in the second quarter on an eight-yard touchdown run. The play before that he ran 21 yards to the Lake Orion 8 yard line.
It isn’t every day that a program can trust a sophomore to carry the load, especially a loaded program like WBHS.
“Coach Bellamy says I am a freakish athlete,” Edwards said. “I also know the game very well. I watch a lot of game film and know everything that is going on around me.”
Edwards is young and he is special. Part of that comes from his father Kevin who preaches to his son to follow the golden rules and to strive for excellence on and off the field.
“Be a student athlete,” his dad Kevin said. “And make sure student is first. Without good grades colleges won’t be looking at you.”
Bellamy will get him into college. That is one of the appeals of why players want to play at West Bloomfield. Coach Bellamy works tirelessly to get his guys into school. Already coaching staffs from Michigan, Indiana and Michigan State have visited campus. The University of Nebraska poked its head in the building on Friday.
Bellamy congratulated his men for a job well done against a program that won a state title in 2010. But he bristled about unnecessary penalties which could be costly when the Lakers face unbeaten Oak Park in three weeks and other top notch programs during the playoffs.
“You hate to put a damper on the kids’ victory but we are trying to put an end to that (mistakes),” Bellamy said.