Strange football season comes to a close for Roosevelt

Photo by Larry Caruso

Hank Minckiewicz

A weird and winning season concluded for the Roosevelt football team with a 27-14 Michigan High School Athletic Association state playoff loss to Oak Park on Nov. 13.

It was the Bears’ first on-field loss of the season. They forfeited a game earlier in the year to Anderson when a COVID outbreak left the Bears unable to play. Wyandotte also had a midseason “no-contest” when both Allen Park and Wyandotte suffered outbreaks and the Bears lost games against Riverview, Edsel Ford and Trenton when the start of the 2020 season was delayed by a Governor’s Order.

In all, the Bears were 6-2 and 4-1 in Downriver League play.

Roosevelt’s season ended on its home field on Nov. 13, when the Knights scored three first-quarter touchdowns and played keep away with the Bears the rest of the night. Roosevelt got into the end zone twice in the second half, but could never catch up.

Prior to the Oak Park loss, the Bears had little trouble dispatching their first two playoff opponents. Roosevelt clobbered Downriver League foe Lincoln Park 54-7 in the first round and handled Detroit Renaissance with ease 38-13 in the second round.

The Lincoln Park game was a laugher all the way as the Bears scored 14 points in the first quarter, 21 in the second and led 35-0 at halftime.

Senior quarterback Jalen Pitchford had a brilliant game, tossing two touchdown passes, running for one and scoring on a pass interception return. He finished with 137 passing yards.

Richard Clark and Jalen Jackson caught Pitchford’s scoring throws. Clark finished the night with three catches for 78 yards.

On the ground, Elvis Velverde led the way with 106 yards and a score. Fullback Logan McGraw also had a rushing touchdown.

It was more of the same in the district semifinal as the Bears cruised past Renaissance.

Pitchford had three more touchdown passes and again scored on an interception return. He threw for 216 yards. Anthony Peterson caught two touchdown passes and finished the night with three catches for 97 yards. McGraw caught the other TD pass.

Cam Garrison matched Pitchford with a pass interception returned for a touchdown and placekicker Pat Schilk booted a field goal.

Roosevelt 30, Carlson 29 OT

Roosevelt wrapped up a share of the Downriver League title on the last night of the regular season. The Bears shared the crown with Carlson and 2019 champ Woodhaven.

Pitchford scored the Roosevelt touchdown in overtime and then ran in the two-point conversion for the win. It was his second touchdown of the night. The Roosevelt senior carried the ball 26 times in the game and passed it 26 more. He had 111 rushing yards and passed for 118 more.

McGraw scored the other two Wyandotte touchdowns on short runs. Peterson and Clark each caught three passes in the win.

Defensively, Peterson had 10 tackles and a pass interception, Logan had 11 tackles and Clark had two tackles for a loss. Clark and David Cerda each recovered a fumble.

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