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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pirates KO Rockets

Adams filed this report from the Harbor Beach game...

HARBOR BEACH — Harbor Beach was in this position last year.
The Pirates won their first two games, then traveled to Reese, and their promising start was over.
Friday night, they made sure history didn’t repeat itself as they took advantage of four first-half turnovers in a 30-16 victory.
“We turned it over four times in the first half,” said Reese coach Bob Saylor. “When you do that, it’s pretty hard to win against a good team. Harbor Beach has a nice club.
“We enjoy playing them. It’s always a hard-hitting game.”
Harbor Beach had to overcome an early hurdle as it trailed for the first time this season. Reese quarterback Cody Peyok scored on a 1-yard dive and hit Matt Frost for the 2-pointer to make it 8-0 with 46 seconds to play in the first quarter.
“Sometimes with a young team, having those shutouts can be good, but it can hurt you too,” said Harbor Beach coach Troy Schelke. “When the other team scores, all heck breaks loose. I thought our kids stepped up and came through.
“We talked about that before the game. We knew that there was going to be some adversity.”
The Pirates answered back when Eli Kraft hit Aaron Ginther for a 28-yard hookup on a 4th-and-2.
With 2:50 to play in the half, Harbor Beach took advantage of short field after a fumble by the Rockets.
A few plays later, Kraft scrambled in for a 9-yard score. He connected with Ginther for the ensuing 2-pointer to make it 14-8 with 1:50 remaining.
The Rockets advanced deep into Harbor Beach territory on their next possession, but failed to convert a fourth down, allowing the Pirates to take over on their own 36-yard line with 1:00 left in the half. 
Harbor Beach quickly marched down the field and Kraft hit Sloan Klaski for a 2-yard touchdown as time ran out. Kraft hit Ginther again for the 2-pointer to make it 22-8 at the break.
“That’s just a huge momentum swing one way or the other,” Schelke said. “I think it was huge for us to get ahead because we forced them to grind it out and take some chances.”
Added Saylor: “Any time you give up a score, it’s deflating, but when you give it up at that point going into half, it hurts. They played a great game in the second half and limited our touches.”
With 10:56 to play in the game, Derek Pfaff put it out of reach for the Pirates with a 7-yard scamper. Ginther converted the 2-pointer to make it 30-6.
The Rockets tacked on a safety on a botched Harbor Beach punt attempt. They ended the game with a 7-yard touchdown run from Travis Stockmeyer. 
Reese remains on the road for a critical Greater Thumb West game with Vassar next week.
Saylor knows his team has to take care of the ball much better if it expects to contend for the league title.
“If you don’t hold on to the football, you’re not going to win very many games,” he said. “Those are simple things that we need to control. 
“It’s one thing if somebody puts a good hit on you, but if you don’t secure the ball, that frustrates you.”
Harbor Beach showed nice offensive balance, rushing for 138 yards, led by Kraft, with 62 yards on 10 carries. He also completed 10 of 16 passes for 118 yards.
Reese was held to 215 total yards of offense. 
The Pirates remain home to host Brown City for their first Greater Thumb East contest of the season.
“We have a lot of confidence, but we have to be real careful,” Schelke said. “Every game, especially, the league games, are important, so we can’t lose focus from week-to-week. I’m just so happy for our seniors. They came up as sophomores and really helped save our program. Now, they’re blending in really well with our young pups.”

A few photos...

Red Hawks break out

BAD AXE — When Cass City needed one of its leaders to step up, captain Josh Jensen answered the call.
The senior tailback rushed for 200 yards and scored all six of the Red Hawks’ touchdowns in a 43-14 Greater Thumb West victory over Bad Axe here Friday night.
Jensen scored on runs of 7, 8, 9, 20, 26 and 69 yards — three in each half — for the Red Hawks, who led 23-6 at the break and 37-6 after three quarters.
“Josh is a captain and that’s the kind of effort we need out of our captains,” said Cass City coach Ed Stoutenburg. “We had a very good week of practice. The kids are coming around and they are starting to understand their positions.”
The Red Hawks struggled in their season-opening loss to Sandusky. They played better last week in a hard-fought setback against Brown City, and finally put things together against the Hatchets.
“The intensity is picking up — and that was something we wanted to see,” Stoutenburg said. “Our kids have really decided that they want to play.”
Meanwhile, the Hatchets got on the scoreboard for the first time this season, but had a hard time stopping the Red Hawks’ ground game. 
Quarterback Ben Braden threw a pair of touchdown passes to Seth Guigar for the Hatchets.
While Bad Axe first-year coach Mark Manenti saw some positive signs on offense, he feels his defense needs to get more aggressive.
“We are arm tackling and we’re falling to the ground — and that gives them four or five more yards each carry,” he said. “Fundamentally, we are not doing what we need to do. We are not reading our keys. It’s one guy making a mistake on a play. And it costs us a touchdown every time. It adds up.”
Jensen did his damage on just 17 carries, good for an 11.8 yards per carry average. Braedon Perzanowski added 76 yards on 10 rushes, including a 2-pointer. Nick Kappen chipped in 63 yards, helping the Red Hawks rack up 355 yards via the rush. 
Cass City quarterback Ethan Nicol completed three passes for 32 yards, including a 2-pointer to Alex Zaleski.
For Bad Axe, Braden rushed 10 times for 87 yards while Spencer Kelly added 48 yards on 13 totes. The Hatchets rushed for 208 total yards.
Manenti know it’s going to take time to turn the program around. He also knows he can’t do it alone.
“These kids have a lot of heart and they want to win so badly,” Manenti said. “They have to get that mindset that they can win. That’s the problem right now. They don’t believe in themselves. They are a great group of kids. Sometimes, you just have to believe you can win. 
“We walk on the field every Friday night and it’s like we already know what’s going to happen. I can’t change that. The kids have to change that.”
Defensively for Cass City, Jacob Perry had 11 tackles and a blocked punt while Jensen added nine stops and Morgan Erla eight. Zac Potrykus had a fumble recovery.
Defensively for Bad Axe, Brad Lautenschlager had a fumble recovery.
Bad Axe, now 0-3, remains at home next week when it hosts 0-3 Bay City All Saints.
The Red Hawks, now 1-2, host Unionville-Sebewaing Area.
“We play week to week and we don’t look ahead,” Stoutenburg said. “We’re 1-0 this week, and we hope to be 1-0 next week.”

Here are a few photos from the game...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Week 3 has arrived

Welcome to Week 3...
Please post any scores and/or highlights you have from tonight's area games.
We will post scores when we get them, including the 2 big games — Reese at Harbor Beach and Ubly at Marlette.

Scores as of 11:15 p.m.
Cass City 43, Bad Axe 14 – Josh Jensen rushed for over 200 yards and scored 6 TDs for the Red Hawks.
Harbor Beach 30, Reese 16 – According to Adams, it wasn't even that close.
Marlette 14, Ubly 0 – The streak ends at 34.
USA 36, EPBP 26 – USA is 2-1 overall.
Sandusky 61, Mayville 0
Memphis 27, Kingston 26
Vassar 46, BCAS 7
Deckerville 44, Peck 28
Brown City 55, North Huron 0
A-Fairgrove 18, CPS 13
Marine City Cardinal Mooney 44, Owen-Gage 28

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Week 3 Preview...

HARBOR BEACH — Last year at this time, Harbor Beach was riding high after starting the season 2-0 with a pair of easy victories over Bad Axe and North Huron.
Week 3 came and they were bombed by Reese, 41-0. It started a stretch of five losses in their final seven games, ending any hopes for a post-season bid.
Fast forward to 2011.
The Pirates are in the same position — 2-0 and boasting with confidence after two shutouts over the Hatchets and Warriors.
And once again like last season, the 2-0 Rockets are up next this Friday at Harbor Beach.
“We have a lot of respect for Reese and how good they are,” said Harbor Beach coach Troy Schelke. “We have to be ready for a dogfight...”
The Rockets come in after a 41-12 win over Houghton Lake in Week 1 and a 46-0 blanking of Bad Axe last week.
Against the Hatchets, the Rockets led 40-0 at halftime. Matt Frost had 117 yards and scored three touchdowns while Troy Elbers added 84 yards and two more scores. Quarterback Cody Peyok was a perfect 4-for-4 for 53 yards.
The Rockets also scored a defensive TD when Matt Lefler picked off a pass and ran 24 yards into the end zone.
For the Pirates, Aaron Ginther scored three times — once on the ground and twice via the pass — while four others scored once for the Pirates, who led 20-0 after one quarter and 34-0 at the half against North Huron.
Travis Essenmacher, Derek Pfaff, Tyler Krueger and Sloan Klaski scored the other TDs for Harbor Beach, which picked up 375 yards rushing overall and 82 yards passing from quarterback Eli Kraft. Ginther and Pfaff each had 78 yards on the ground while Krueger added 70, Klaski 55, Essenmacher 44 and Kraft 32. Kraft also threw for 82 yards, including scoring strikes of 36 and 46 yards to Ginther in the first quarter which set the tone.
Prior to last season’s Week 3 showdown, the Pirates and Rockets had met four straight times in the playoffs from 2003-06, with each team winning twice.

A quick roundup of some other key games...
Cass City (0-2) at Bad Axe (0-2)
BAD AXE — The Hatchets make their 2011 home debut looking for their first win since Week 7 of the 2009 season.
After getting trounced by Sandusky in the opener, the Red Hawks played better last week in a 28-21 setback to Brown City.
Last year, Cass City picked up a 61-0 win over the Hatchets.

EPBP (0-2) and USA (1-1)
SEBEWAING — Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port travels to Unionville-Sebewaing Area looking for its first win of the season.
The Lakers have been outscored this year 96-12, including a 50-12 setback to Vassar last week.
The Patriots rebounded from a Week 1 loss to Ubly with a hard-fought 16-8 win at Bay City All Saints last week.

Ubly (2-0) at Marlette (2-0)
MARLETTE — Ubly has won eight of the last nine games against Marlette, with the only setback coming in 2005.
The Raiders have racked up 99 points in their first two games using their explosive offense, led by quarterback Kolby Lange. Lange has rushed for 270 yards and five TDs while completing 21-of-28 passes for 386 yards and four more TDs.
The Bearcats, meanwhile, just keep on winning. They extended their regular season winning streak to 34 games last week in a hard-fought 14-6 win over Sandusky.
The bad news for the Bearcats is that senior tailback Bret Cleary is more than likely out for the season with a leg injury.
Marlette coach Denny Lester is excited about his team’s 2011 home debut.
“We are where we wanted to be after the first two games,” he said.”Our goal was to get to our first home game with two wins. We will really find out what kind of team we have (this week). Ubly is going to be a great challenge. They have a wonderful program and are well coached.”

Peck (0-2) at Deckerville (1-1)
DECKERVILLE — Deckerville hasn’t lost a North Central Thumb League game since its return to the conference last season.
The Eagles bounced back from a disappointing showing in the season opener against Mendon with a 48-7 beating of Kingston last week.
Tailback Andrew Estrada rushed for 220 yards and six scores in the win.
Meanwhile, the Pirates have been outscored 82-0 in losses to Whittemore-Prescott and Brown City.

Owen-Gage (2-0) at Marine City Cardinal Mooney (1-1)
MARINE CITY — Owendale-Gagetown has a chance to go to 3-0 for the first time since 1992 with a victory.
Last week for the Bulldogs in their 42-0 blanking of Burr Oak, Hunter Champagne scored three times while Jordan Kain also had a TD. Tommy Kennedy notched 101 yards on the ground for the winners.
Defensively, Andrew Fahrner had 11 tackles while Champagne added nine and one interception, and Kennedy eight and one pick. 

Hunkins wins Week 2 Blog Contest

Mayville's Gary Hunkins got all 15 games correct and won the Week 2 Tribune Blog Football Contest...
Gary was one of the few people who picked LSU over Oregon...
Congrats, Gary.
I have your address and will get the prize out to you in a day or so...
Overall standings will be posted later.

PS – Believe it or not, Gary, you also won the newspaper I Beat Bogan Contest. Our ad department will be sending you something in a week or so...

Week 3 Blog Contest Games...

Here are the games for Week 3 of the Tribune Sports Blog Football Contest...
Questions can be directed to Bogan at
A pair of crusty 10s to the winner this week!

2 pointers
Cass City at Bad Axe
BCAS at Vassar
Mayville at Sandusky
Peck at Deckerville
CPS at A-Fairgrove
Florida Atlantic at MSU
Brown City at North Huron

5 pointers
Alabama at Penn State
Owen-Gage at MC Cardinal Mooney
Memphis at Kingston

10 pointers
Reese at Harbor Beach
Lions at Tampa Bay
Notre Dame at Michigan
Ubly at Marlette

Tiebreaker – Lions at Tampa Bay, total points

Good luck to all.