This week, 4Frenzy will head to Clarkston as the perennial powerhouse Clarkston Wolves (4-0) will take on the surging Seaholm Maples (3-1) in a rare out-of-conference clash. Fresh off an emotional victory over rival Birmingham Groves thanks to QB/CB Caleb Knoer’s touchdown-saving forced fumble at the goal line, the Maples will face their toughest test of the season in Clarkston.
“Once it’s a new week, nothing you did last week matters,” Seaholm Head Coach Jim DeWald said. “Our players know our process each week, and that when the week starts their only focus is being able to play for 4 full quarters in that next Friday’s game.”
While Seaholm’s players are focused on Clarkston, it’s hard to ignore their recent success. In 2019, Seaholm made a run all the way to the Final Four of the Division 2 MHSAA Playoffs.
“It meant a lot to the entire community,” DeWald said. “The school spirit at Seaholm is unbelievable, and seeing alumni from all around the country come back to see us play was an honor.”
As Seaholm sees its stock rise in football rankings across the state, the Clarkston Wolves have been one of the measuring sticks for Michigan high school football teams for decades. Hired as head coach of the Wolves in 1987 and one of the state’s all-time leaders in wins, Kurt Richardson has seen a lot of change in the sport.
“The main difference is speed,” Richardson said. “Football is all about speed now. Instead of a more simple style, teams have gotten much more creative in ways to get their playmakers the ball.”
Richardson runs a more pass-heavy, spread offense now, led by Junior QB Mike DePillo, who is returning after starting as a sophomore.
“He’s just constantly improving,” Richardson said. “For a kid to start at QB as a sophomore, you have to work hard. The progress I’ve seen in him his junior year has been great, and our offensive line protects him well.”
That offensive line is anchored by standout Rocco Spindler. Standing at 6′5″ and weighing 290 pounds, Spindler is committed to play football at Notre Dame next fall. The Clarkston defense is led by linebacker Caleb Stallworth and defensive back Harry Skinner.
On the flip side, Seaholm features a run-heavy triple option offense led by Senior QB Caleb Knoer, who was the man under center for Seaholm’s 2019 playoff run.
“Even as a freshman I could tell he was different,” DeWald said. “He seemed like a kid who people naturally gravitated to.”
Knoer and Seaholm’s rushing attack include versatile weapons Will McBride and Jackson Vance, the latter of which had 3 touchdowns in last week’s win over Groves.
“Both kids have incredible vision as ballcarriers,” DeWald said. “Our offensive line has been playing well, and those two read the blocks perfectly. Sometimes, it seems like they get better as the game goes on.”
Seaholm’s offensive line is led by Caden DeWald, Jake LaBarre, and Michael Donovan.
Seaholm seems like an underdog on paper, but Clarkston coach Kurt Richardson has been around long enough to know that’s never the case.
“We know how good they are, we know we need to stop the run to win,” Richardson said. “I tell my players that there is a standard we need to play to every single Friday night because if you don’t meet that standard, someone else will, and they’ll take your place.”
Final score: Clarkston - 35 Seaholm - 7
The game started off with fireworks as Clarkston WR Logan Forbes, who is a tall, fast playmaker to keep your eye on, took a punt return 50 yards to the house in the first quarter for the first touchdown of the game. Seaholm responded with a touchdown of their own to tie the game at 7-7, and found themselves entering the locker room at halftime in a one-score game down 14-7. Turnovers ended up plaguing the Maples offense, giving Clarkston a chance to control the tempo with their run game. The Wolves broke open the game with 21 second half points, thanks to touchdowns from RBs Mike Kein and Davis York. Clarkston (5-0) will travel to face Dakota (4-1) next week while Seaholm (3-2) is on the road again, this time at North Farmington (3-2) as teams fight to gain momentum heading into the MHSAA Playoffs.
The highlights of 4Frenzy’s fifth Game of the Week, featuring Clarkston vs Seaholm will air on Local 4 over the weekend. You can find them here at clickondetroit.com/4Frenzy after.
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