Playing in its first state playoff game after a year’s absence, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes looked about as rusty as a team could be on offense.
Fortunately, its defense picked up the slack and helped deliver a 15-7 victory at home over Pittsford in a Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 8 pre-district game on Saturday, Oct. 27.
Despite the win, Our Lady Head Coach Mike Boyd let it be known that he was less than pleased with his team’s offensive output.
“We have to be a better offense. Our blocking was atrocious. We either didn’t block or we blocked the wrong guy and we didn’t run very hard,” Boyd said. “We won because of our defense. The defense did an outstanding job. They only gave up six yards in the first half.”
Leading the Lakers’ (8-2) defensive effort was Richie Cross, who finished with three interceptions on the day, including two in the second half.
Saturday’s game also saw the return of Garrett Ross, who had missed most of the season due to injury, and he kicked off Our Lady’s scoring by grabbing a 30-yard touchdown pass from Sal Mastromatteo in the first quarter.
Spencer Howell added a 42-yard field goal to give the Lakers a 9-0 halftime advantage.
However, Pittsford (7-3) cut its deficit to two in the third quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by Travis Wilson on its first drive of the half.
Pittsford then intercepted Mastromatteo in the end zone in the fourth quarter, just when it looked like Our Lady was going to score.
The Wildcats’ momentum was short-lived for only one play as Ross then grabbed an interception and returned it to the Pittsford 10-yard line.
Mastromatteo would then finish what he started by throwing a 10-yard pass to Cross with just under 9 minutes left to play.
“If you took away Pittsford’s first drive of the third quarter, they would only have 35 yards of total offense,” Boyd said.
The Lakers will next host a Division 8 district final on Saturday, Nov. 3 against Melvindale Academy for Business and Technology.
The Gators (7-3) defeated Westland Lutheran, 48-22, in its pre-district matchup last weekend.
“I know Melvindale is big and fast. This last game was a wake-up call for us,” Boyd said.