Southfield — After a bizarre scramble by quarterback Kanye Harris in the final minute of the game, Southfield hung on to beat Oakland Activities Association White Division rival Oak Park, 20-16, Friday to clinch a playoff berth and a share of the division title.
Oak Park cut the Southfield lead to 20-14 with 1:14 left to play on a Chauncey Lowman 42-yard strike to Miles Daniel. With two timeouts remaining, Oak Park tried an onside kick but failed to recover.
That's when things got interesting.
Southfield (6-2, 6-1) had the ball at its 43-yard line, and after two rushes that netted 4 yards and made Oak Park burn both of its timeouts, faced a third down with just over a minute to play.
Harris decided to improvise with the game hanging in the balance, running backward, away from defenders, in an attempt to kill more clock. After being chased all the way back to his 17, he finally went down with 48 seconds remaining.
Southfield let the clock bleed on fourth-and-36, taking a 5-yard delay-of-game penalty with four seconds left.
Then, instead of punting and giving Oak Park a chance, Harris ran the ball out of the back of the end zone and took a safety as the game ended.
Southfield coach Tim Conley was not amused with the play that saw his quarterback lose 30 yards.
"I'm very disappointed," Conley said. "That's little-league stuff. I don't like that, but it worked out for us."
Oak Park coach Greg Carter praised the play.
"They did a good job of running around," Carter said. "It took us forever to tackle him and they ate up the clock that they needed."
After showing very little life on offense in the first half, Oak Park (6-2, 6-1) scored as time expired in the second quarter when Lowman found Juan Hernandez in the back of the end zone for an 18-yard score.
Lowman finished 15-for-31 with 168 yards and two touchdowns.
Southfield came out in the third quarter and forced a three-and-out from the Oak Park offense on the first possession of the half, keeping their opponents' vaunted running game in check by holding them to 58 yards on the ground.
Oak Park's John Kelly was held to just 49 yards on 14 carries.
"We never got in sync offensively," Carter said. "They put a lot of pressure on us. We picked up a lot of stuff late and got a little rattled."
The Southfield running game didn't rack up many big plays, but they controlled the clock and got some crucial first downs.
Adrian Carter scored from a yard out in the fourth quarter to finish off an 11-play, 55-yard drive in which Southfield ran the ball on every play with either Carter or Jeremy Gates.
"That's the weight room right there," Conley said. "The offensive line pushing the ball with hard work. We followed our game plan of just holding the ball and having long drives."
Aside from the final two plays of the game, Southfield racked up 110 yards on the ground. Harris ended the night 7-for-9 passing for 58 yards and a touchdown that came on a 41-yard screen pass that Gates took for a touchdown.
The win vaulted Southfield into a three-way tie for the division title with Oak Park and Farmington Hills Harrison, who came away victorious over rival North Farmington on Friday night.
Birmingham Brother Rice 38, U-D Jesuit 14: Alex Malzone was 19-of-30 for 172 yards and two touchdowns for Brother Rice (8-0, 4-0). Brian Fortin caught both touchdown passes, from 13 and 16 yards, respectively. Brandon Thomas rushed for two touchdowns and Bobby Dixon rushed for one. Alex Nast added a 41-yard field goal.
Dearborn 28, Dearborn Heights Robichaud 12: Ali Berry rushed 10 times for 50 yards and a touchdown for Dearborn (5-3). Ishmael Bazzi had 40 yards receiving and a touchdown, while Ahmed Hazime had two interceptions. Robichaud is 7-1.
Dearborn Divine Child 24, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 7: Jimmy Seewald was 17-of-22 for 346 yards and two touchdowns for Divine Child (6-2). Luke Adams had 18 carries for 98 yards for Notre Dame Prep (2-5). Matt Durkin rushed for the team's only touchdown.
Dearborn Heights Crestwood 47, Redford Union 0: Ahmad Elsayed rushed for 184 yards and four touchdowns on 20 carries, Ali Bazzi had a 48-yard touchdown run, and Matt Bhenke had 10 tackles for Crestwood (2-6). Union is 1-7.
Detroit Loyola 59, Macomb Lutheran North 0: Marvin Campbell rushed for 215 yards and four touchdowns on seven carries. Harvey Caddell had two interceptions, returning one for a 26-yard score, and a 25-yard touchdown reception for Loyola (8-0, 4-0 Catholic AA). North is 2-6, 0-4.
Detroit University Prep 28, Plymouth Educational 0: Game was stopped in fourth quarter due to fight among players. Tyree Smith had two rushing touchdowns and 120 yards on the ground and a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown and Roderick Harris had a rushing touchdown for University Prep (6-2).
Farmington 24, Birmingham Groves 20: Kyle Collins rushed for two touchdowns for Farmington (7-1). Kyle Brunson rushed for 143 yards. Zach Van Faussien had three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) for Groves (6-2).
Farmington Hills Harrison 56, North Farmington 21: Jevon Shaw ran for 165 yards on 14 carries, threw for 56 yards on 3-of-5 passing and had four touchdowns for Harrison (7-1, 6-1 OAA White). Mason Cornell rushed for 70 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries for North Farmington.
Fraser 49, L'Anse Creuse 21: Dominic Mielke had 14 carries for 113 yards and three touchdowns for Fraser (5-3). Jared Roberts rushed eight times for 68 yards and a touchdown. Marcus Bowers rushed for a 7-yard touchdown to start the game, and made nine tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack. With the win, Fraser had its first winning season since 2001.
Grosse Pointe North 53, St. Clair Shores Lakeview 27: Lawrence Bryant had 10 carries for 66 yards and four touchdowns and Jordan Davidson had 123 total yards and scored two touchdowns for North (5-3).
Grosse Pointe South 17, Utica Ford 14: Andrew Fabry kicked the game-winning 27-yard field goal as time expired and Will Poplowski added nine tackles for South (4-4). Ford is 4-4.
Livonia Stevenson 30, Livonia Churchill 27: Austin Petrie had 23 carries for 137 yards and two touchdowns, C.J. Weiss had five carries for 69 yards and one touchdown and had six catches for 85 yards and a touchdown and Chris Tanderys was 12-for-23 for 143 yards and one touchdown for Stevenson (6-2). Paul Romain had 20 carries for 168 yards and two touchdowns and Brian Alsobrooks was 20-for-28 for 270 yards for Churchill (6-2).
Marysville 36, St Clair 21: Ryan Ellul had 23 carries for 241 yards and three touchdowns for Marysville (5-3). Riley Gleason had 17 carries for 115 yards and one touchdown for St. Clair (6-2).
Orchard Lake St. Mary's 47, Mississauga Canada Prep Academy (Ontario) 18: Brandon Adams had 25 carries for 187 yards and a touchdown for St. Mary's (7-1).
Plymouth 42, Northville 17: Cameron Stella rushed 19 times for 254 yards and three touchdowns for Plymouth (6-2). Anthony Kenney added 17 carries for 126 yards and two touchdowns.
Port Huron 28, Utica 21: Kumehnnu Gwilly rushed 27 times for 213 yards and two touchdowns for Utica (2-6). He also threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Jason Grohman. Austin Kowalczyk had seven carries for 45 yards and made six tackles (two for loss) on defense.
Redford Thurston 36, Garden City 13: Travis Wesenberg was 8-of-13 for 126 yards for Thurston (5-3). Emmanuel Parker had four carries for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Kyler Hubbs threw for 81 yards and a touchdown for Garden City (3-5). He also carried 21 times for 164 and a touchdown.
River Rouge 30, Ecorse 0: Jajuan Kemp had one receiving touchdown and one rushing touchdown for River Rouge (7-1), finishing with 215 total yards. Defensive end Dontez Blackshear had 14 solo tackles, defensive lineman Myles Campbell had a sack, three tackles for loss and four solo tackles and senior defensive back Rajuan Williams had one interception.
Rochester Adams 36, Rochester 0: Clarence Broadnax had 20 carries for 198 yards and three touchdowns and Kyle Wood had 21 carries for 176 yards and two touchdowns for Adams (4-4). Rochester is 1-7.
Romulus 48, Hamtramck 3: Oscar Brown had 116 yards rushing on seven carries, including three touchdowns, as Romulus (6-2) clinched its first playoff spot since 2000. Quarterback Darius Jackson had 121 yards rushing and ran for two touchdowns. Jackson also surpassed 1,000 yards rushing for the season. Kingsley Enechukwu led the Romulus defense with seven tackles.
South Lyon 17, Canton 7: Nico Woods had 17 carries for 44 yards and Anton Skupin was 11-for-20 for 179 yards and one touchdown for South Lyon (7-1). Canton is 6-2.
Utica Eisenhower 31, Warren Mott 24 (2OT): Joe Mets had 22 carries for 120 yards and two touchdowns, Jake Bradsher rushed for 61 yards on 15 carries, and Robert Smith kicked a 42-yard field in overtime to send it to double overtime for Eisenhower (5-3, 3-2 MAC Red). Connor Madigan was 11-of-21 for 192 yards and a touchdown and scored on a 6-yard run for Mott (4-4, 2-3).
Walled Lake Western 31, Hartland 14: Kyle Thomas was 15-of-26 for 203 yards and three touchdowns for Western (7-1). He also rushed 18 times for 200 yards. All three of Thomas' touchdown passes went to Marcus Bailey, who had seven catches for 112 yards. Hartland falls to 6-2.
Warren Fitzgerald 28, Clinton Township Clintondale 26: Stephen Gregerson was 17-of-22 for 241 yards and four touchdowns for Fitzgerald (5-3, 3-2 MAC Silver). He also rushed 15 times for 96 yards. Bryan Gordon had seven catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Jamon Benson led the team with 12 tackles.
Westland John Glenn 44, Novi 32: Jamie Melchor rushed 23 times for 142 yards and five touchdowns for John Glenn (5-3, 2-3 Kensington Lakes-South). Jaylen Smith had 17 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown. Emmanuel Jackson carried 22 times for 240 yards and three touchdowns for Novi (3-5, 3-2 Kensington Lakes-Central). He finished with 358 all-purpose yards.
White Lake Lakeland 42, Milford 6: Ryan Wonders had 13 carries for 92 yards and two touchdowns, Jacob Menzel had four catches for 80 yards and a score, Luke Els was 5-of-8 for 82 yards and a touchdown, and Jason Wooster had a 35-yard interception return for Lakeland (2-6). Milford is 1-7.
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer;
News staff contributed