Either way, history was going to be made Friday night at Lahser High School's Dauch Field as the Knights hosted homecoming for the final time.
But Spencer McCourt said there wasn't much that could top knowing the Lahser faithful went home happy after one of the biggest games of the season.
"This was a huge win to get tonight," the junior quarterback said following Lahser's 35-27 win over Berkley. "Espcially with all these people here, so many former players going back all the way to 1973. It's great to send them home this way and to show that the program is still in good shape even though they're not here."
That they are. The victory pushed the Knights' record to 5-1 and thrwarted any concerns of a losing streak following a tough 35-14 loss at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep. They are just one win shy of automatically qualifying for the playoffs with key games against Birmingham Seaholm and Auburn Hills Avondale ahead in consecutive weeks.
Both offenses moved the ball, but failed to score in the first quarter. Berkley broke the scoreless tie early in the second quarter with a touchdown after a Lahser fumbled at their own 20-yard line. The Knights broke up the extra point attempt, however, and then scored on the ensuing kickoff with an electrifying run by speedy sophomore Nate Emery, who sprinted up the Lahser sideline and cut back across the field to reach the corner of the end zone.
The seesaw battle continued for the remainder of the half and both teams headed into the locker rooms deadlocked 19-19. Lahser took the lead with a safety and scored again quickly to take a 28-19 lead with just over six minutes left in the third quarter. The lead swelled to 16 points after McCourt connected with senior wideout Martez Jones, who darted around and through the Berkley defense for a touchdown.
Berkley closed the gap with a touchdown with less than five minutes remaining, but the Knights ran out the remainder of the clock and kept the Bear offense off the field.
More than a game
Though no attendance figure was given, the home stands were packed for most of the game, and extra bleachers were set aside for those that didn't prefer to line the fence around the field to get close to the action. Homecoming is always a draw for both the student body and alumni, but this year is certainly different, and it showed.
Starting next fall, upperclassmen will still populate the building, but it will be known as the main campus of the new Bloomfield Hills High School while a mostly new high school is built on the current Andover property over the next two years.
"Our seniors know they’re the final class (at Lahser) and they wanted to make sure this night was a special one," Principal Charlie Hollerith said while describing the week-long festivities tied to the homecoming celebration.
"In this day and age when a lot of schools are doing away with homecoming, it's been a tradition at our school that helps us define our culture, so this is so special to be a part of."
Alumni appeared to be just as swept up in the fervor.
"I heard this was going to be the last year and I wouldn't miss this for anything," said William Hunter, a member of the class 1982 who now lives in Auburn Hills.
During halftime ceremonies, seniors Derek Segars and Nicole Kallas were named Homecoming King and Queen for 2012.
"It's really overwhelming, really hard to believe," a near speechless Segars said.
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