Clarkston takes second straight Division 1 state football crown with victory over Saline

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DETROIT — Clarkston's one-two punch added up to a second straight Division I state title Saturday at Ford Field in 3.

Tailback Nolan Eriksen rushed for 172 yards and three touchdowns as the Wolves rode a strong second half to a 33-25 victory over Saline.

Clarkston quarterback D.J. Zezula also threw for one touchdown and ran in another score.

The Wolves (14-0) trailed 10-7 at halftime but scored 20 straight points to post their 27th consecutive victory, the longest active run in the state.

"In games like this, you can't over think it," said Zezula, a senior. "You just go back to basics, see what the defense is giving you and take it."

Zezula finished the game 6 for 9 for 100 yards and gained 120 on 17 carries. He was sacked only once.

He found a wide-open Merrick Canada for a 52-yard touchdown five minutes into the second half to give the Wolves the lead for good. Eriksen added a 2-yard scoring run in the final minute of the third.

Saline (12-2), making the school's first title-game appearance, drove deep into Clarkston territory in the fourth but struck out when Ben Stankovic's 24-yard field goal try was wide. The Wolves took over and Zezula broke free on a 70-yard draw.

"We probably ran out of gas a little bit," Hornets coach Joe Palka said. "Those drives where we came away with no points were critical."

Hornets quarterback Josh Jackson scored on a 1-yard sneak midway through the fourth but Clarkston answered with Eriksen's final touchdown run, a 22-yarder. Jackson was 20 for 31 for 237 yards and Kevin Gross had a pair of touchdown runs for the Hornets.

Saline attempted an onside kick after its final touchdown but Shane Holler corralled the ball and the Wolves ran out the final minute of regulation.

"They're pretty darned good and they got it done in the second half," Clarkston coach Kurt Richardson said of his team. "Nothing fazes them."

Both teams got off to rocky starts. Each quarterback threw an interception in the first half and Clarkston fumbled a punt to set up a 36-yard Saline field goal attempt. It was blocked, however, by 6-foot-7 linebacker Cole Chewins.

Chewins also broke up three passes and added a tackle for loss.

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