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Chippewa Valley defense stifles Lake Orion

Geoff Robinson
The Detroit News

Detroit — With a sophomore quarterback making his first start, Clinton Township Chippewa Valley showed up to Wayne State’s Adams Field for the Prep Kickoff Classic with a chip on its shoulder regarding questions surrounding what some view as a rebuild year for coach Scott Merchant and his kids.

Well, maybe the rebuild can start tomorrow.

Chippewa Valley used a stifling defense and a steady offensive attack to take down Lake Orion in the nightcap of the PFC Thursday, 27-7.

“Not bad for the worst team in the MAC Red,” a lively Merchant said after the game. “We knew Lake Orion was a big, physical team and were going to run right at us, but I think our defense did a great job.”

Chippewa Valley turned over the Lake Orion offense three times, including two fumbles recovered on Lake Orion’s first two possessions.

Making his first start, sophomore quarterback Tommy Schuster had an efficient game with his arm, going 12-for-16 for 168 yards and two touchdowns after throwing an interception on the game’s opening possession. He also punched the ball in late in the first half to give Chippewa Valley a 20-0 lead.

“It was good to be out here with my teammates and get a win,” Schuster said. “It was a rough first drive, but once I got into it, I regrouped.”

“He’s a composed kid,” Merchant said. “You never know what’s going to happen, but he did a lot of good things for us tonight.”

Senior running back Steven Charles led the Chippewa Valley running game with 13 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown.

Lake Orion got back into the game in the middle of the third quarter when Jonathan Haggitt scored on an end-around from 30 yards out to pull his team within 20-7.

Schuster answered with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Darian Greeley to put the game away.

Haggitt finished with 10 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown to pace Lake Orion, whose passing game never got going. Junior quarterback Johnathan Marshall finished the game 4-for-13 for 35 yards and a pick.

“We left a lot of plays out there,” Lake Orion coach Chris Bell said. “You can’t do that against those guys. We’ve just got to get better.”

Returning just five starters from last year’s playoff team, Chippewa Valley started three sophomores and 12 juniors on Thursday night.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these young kids,” Merchant said. “They believe and they work hard. Everybody’s telling them they’re no good, so I think we played pretty good considering all that stuff.”

Geoff Rebinson is a freelance writer.