Marquette overcomes adversity for 2nd win
By Journal Sports Staff
PETOSKEY — There were a lot of reasons for Marquette Senior High School to lose its football game at Petoskey on Friday night.
But none stopped the Redmen from instead pulling out a 27-26 victory against the Northmen in a nonconference game.
MSHS had struggled at times to a 1-3 record, then had to make a 5 1/2-hour ride over the Mackinac Bridge before suiting up to face a 2-2 Petoskey team of the Class A Big North Conference in the northern Lower Peninsula.
“I’m so proud of our kids,” Marquette head coach Dave L’Huillier said. He’s trying to work the Redmen back into the MHSAA playoffs, which they made in each of L’Huillier’s first five seasons before last year stopped the streak.
Once they got on the field, the Redmen faced even more adversity when the game was on the line.
The teams exchanged leads throughout when Petoskey would score only to be answered by MSHS. The Redmen tied the game 20-20 when junior Ethan Martysz caught an 82-yard pass from junior quarterback Brendan Kaski on the first play of the fourth quarter. Martysz booted the extra point to give his team the narrowest of leads, 21-20.
Petoskey needed barely more than two minutes to retake a 26-21 lead on a Gabe Whitmore 31-yard TD catch from QB Joel Wilson. A two-point conversion pass that would’ve upped the lead to a full touchdown failed, however.
There was plenty of time for Marquette to catch up again, however, several possessions later, the Redmen faced 4th-and-1 from around midfield.
They were stopped and their chances of winning nearly evaporated.
Then just three plays into the ensuing Northmen possession, MSHS junior defender Richard Sneller Jr. forced a fumble that a teammate, who at this point is still unknown to L’Huiller, recovered.
“We could’ve let it go when all the air went out when we missed on that fourth down,” L’Huillier said. “But these guys are tough, hard-nosed. When things go bad, they respond positively.”
Sneller sparked one last drive that nearly stalled on 4th-and-2 at the Petoskey 17. Kaski threw a screen pass to the left and found Drew Gale, who sprinted around the end for the go-ahead TD with 56 seconds remaining.
L’Huillier elected to try a 2-point PAT pass to build a three-point lead.
It failed, but so did Petoskey when they drove downfield in the game’s waning seconds and Noah Ledingham tried a 38-yard field goal as time was running out.
“To ride the bus for 5 1/2 hours and then beat a team that’s real good, that’s a testament to our guys,” L’Huillier said.
Gale led Marquette with 203 yards rushing in 32 tries, though Kaski did his part, completing 10 of 13 passes for 182 yards and an interception. Gale scored three TDs and Kaski threw for two.
Gale scored on a 16-yard run early in the second quarter and 47-yarder about three minutes into the second half, while Kaski hooked up with with Martsyz and Gale on his scoring throws in the fourth.
Jaylin Mitchell led Petoskey with 95 yards rushing in 22 attempts, while Wilson matched Kaski, completing 14 of 20 passes for 232 yards and one pickoff.
Munising 34, Manistique 8
At Manistique, the visiting Mustangs rolled from the start, scoring a pair of TDs in each of the first two quarters to take a 27-0 halftime lead.
“Our kids came out ready to play after the heartbreaker we had last week,” head coach Jeff Seaberg said, alluding to Munising’s 24-22 loss to Newberry after the Indians’ George Sevarns kicked the winning field goal with one second left. “We corrected some mistakes. Field position definitely helped us out.”
Set up by forcing four turnovers, that’s how the Mustangs were able to dominate despite holding just a 286-221 yards advantage.
QB Alec Blank, Mason Schieding, Christian Cole and Mason Behning each carried the ball nine times, with Blank leading the way with 61 yards. Blank, Schieding and Cole all had rushing TDs in the first half, too, with Blank getting another in the third quarter.
Blank, 6 of 7 for 91 yards passing without an interception, also tossed a 27-yard scoring pass to Josh Huotari four seconds before halftime.
Manistique, which outrushed Munising 206-195, was led by Logan Savage getting 92 yards and Schyler Andersen 62.
Emeralds junior QB Alex Oas averted the shutout when he scored a TD from two yards out with 2:41 to go. Andersen added the two-point run.
Oas was picked off three times, however, by Huotari, Blank and junior Jesse Mattson. Munising’s Clayton Smith recovered a Manistique fumble, too.
Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.