Super Bowl champs!
OXFORD — It was an impressive season for the Lapeer Steelers' youth football program from the opening kickoff. Both the freshmen and JV squads were solid, and although the freshmen team fell just short of playing for a championship following an 8- 0 loss to Brandon on Oct. 27, they were still able to finish the season at 7- 3.
As for the JV team, the Steelers were undefeated all year long and finished with an 11-0 mark after winning the Northern Youth Football League's Super Bowl IX at Oxford High on Saturday, 35-12, over Lake Orion White. It was the JV squad's first Super Bowl appearance in team history as the freshmen team fell in Super Bowl II to Clarkston Blue, 8-0, in overtime.
“I’m really happy for the boys,” said Steelers’ president Bob Travis. “It’s been a long time coming, about nine years for a title and going undefeated is a big deal for the boys at this age.”
Travis also pointed out that this group of boys will be entering the seventh grade football program and should be watched.
“These are the kids who will be coming into the junior high and eventually high school football programs for Lapeer. It will be a really strong group in a few years when they reach the varsity level and people should be excited to watch as they play for one school. I told our parents at the board meeting the other day that we really need to get past the old East/West concept and embrace the one high school for the good of these kids.”
Saturday's championship-clinching win for the JV team, however, quickly began on the right note. Trentyn Gizinski hauled in a 3-yard pass from Camdyn Labelle and then ripped off a 40-yard run which set him up to score moments later on a one-yard run, and after a LaBelle extra point, the Steelers were on top almost instantly, 7-0.
That would remain the score until midway through the second quarter until a Lake Orion punt took a big Steelers bounce, putting Lapeer just inside the Lake Orion 10-yard line with a first and goal. Bobby Opaleski pounded it across the goal line and the Steelers led, 13-0, after a missed extra point attempt.
With just 1:20 remaining in the opening half, the Steelers would get the ball back at the Lake Orion 42- yard line and culminated the drive with a three-yard touchdown run by LaBelle. LaBelle then completed the two-point conversion to Gizinski for the 21-0 lead at the half.
It would be about halfway through the third stanza before Lake Orion lit the scoreboard as Drew Van Heck reached paydirt, however, a missed point after attempt kept it a 21-6 game. Gizinski would open the fourth frame with a key interception, although it didn't result in any points for Lapeer.
After Lake Orion got the ball back, it seemed as though they were driving for their second score of the game. That is, until LaBelle picked off a pass to bring the Lake Orion offense to a halt. Just 27 seconds later, LaBelle cashed in on his interception with a 49-yard scoring run. LaBelle then hit Opaleski for the two-point conversion to extend the Lapeer lead, 29-6.
Lake Orion tried to make it interesting later in the contest with a Jack Cummins six-yard touchdown reception, however, Lapeer put the icing on the cake with about 18 seconds remaining as Gizinski scored on a one-yard run to seal the win and claim the Steelers' first ever Super Bowl win since joining the NYFL.