BY DAN STICKRADT
ROCHESTER HILLS — It took a little bit of drama, but Waterford Mott finally posted a postseason victory — and at Rochester Adams’ expense
The Corsairs built a 28-0 lead in the third quarter and held on for dear life in a 28-21 Division 1 pre-district win over host Adams.
Senior Keith Fields, a transfer from Lake Orion, scored all four touchdowns and finished the night with 205 rushing yards on a workmanship-like 37 carries for Mott (6-4), which will visit defending state champion Romeo next weekend for a district championship.
“We’ve faced a lot of adversity, pain, struggles,” said Fields. “It means a lot — it’s awesome to win the first (playoff) game. Now we want to win the first district championship.”
Leading 21-0, Mott put together a lengthy 15-play, 72-yard drive that chewed up 8:07 of clock in the third quarter. The eventual game-winning drive was capped by Fields’ 2-yard plunge with 1:24 left in the third stanza.
Adams, held to only 84 yards in the first half and a missed 35-yard field goal attempt on the opening drive, mounted a comeback that resulted in 21 fourth-quarter points.
Adams senior quarterback Kyle Wood, a fourth-year starter, scored on a 3-yard run with 11:27 to spark the comeback bid.
The Highlanders (6-4) scored again two drives later, this time when Vincent Gray caught a bomb pass from Wood and raced for the end zone on a 98-yard scoring play. That brought Adams to within two scores with 5:55 left.
Forcing Mott to punt on its next series, Adams countered again to claw to within 28-21 when Wood found senior Mark Patritto on an 8-yard slant pass on the goal line.
The Highlanders did get the ball back one ore time on their own 29 with 24 seconds left and even had a 41-yard pass play down to the Mott 26. But the clock ran out before Adams could get off one final play.
Adams had reached the postseason 17 times in 20 seasons, been to the Final Four four times, captured a state title (2003) and has posted a 23-16 postseason record dating back to 1997.
“To be honest, I loved coaching this group of guys,” said Adams coach Tony Patritto. “We overcame a lot of distractions of what goes on around here (in other districts) and here, too. We had a couple of rough years where we had some selfishness and (chemistry issues). We worked hard with this group to bring back the old-school Adams football. I’ll miss this group.
“We did a nice job coming back and maybe if we had more time we could have done something,” added Patritto. “But often it’s not the final two minutes of the game but the first two minutes that makes the difference. We didn’t play very well in the first quarter and had some great field position and couldn’t get any points out of it.”
Wood, who misfired on his first nine passing attempts in the game and had only 33 yards during the first half, bowed out with a 15-for-30 performance for 298 yards — 265 in the second half.
Patritto had seven catches for 92 yards, Gray had two catches for 116 yards and Chase Kareta hauled in five passes for 82 yards for Adams.
Junior David McCullum, a Division I recruit, was held in check with 102 passing yards on a 6-for-17 performance. Fields had 44 receiving yards for the Corsairs.
Mott was missing head coach Chris Fahr, who sat out due to an MHSAA undue influence infraction.
“This is for all of the kids over the offered assistant coach Bob Bouch. “We have never won a playoff game until now. This was a great effort to come in here and get this win. Coach Fahr talked to the guys before we left Mott and he had them ready to go. To tie this program from being a doormat to a team that can win playoff games in just a few short year is remarkable. Now we have a chance to win a district title.”
Mott was previously 0-4 all-time in postseason contests.
Fields opened the scoring for Mott, breaking loose for a 59-yard TD sprint with 5:33 remaining in the opening quarter.
On the Coarsairs’ next drive, Mott ventured 73 yards over 11 plays, capped by a 2-yard run by Fields.
It was Fields on the receiving end of a 21-yard dart from McCullum for a 21-0 advantage with 6:16 left in the first half.