North Central Jets football team runs roughshod over Marion Eagles in MHSAA Division 2 eight-man semis, 50-2

North Central quarterback Luke Gorzinski, left, scores one of his four first-quarter rushing touchdowns on Saturday in an MHSAA Division 2 eight-player semifinal game at the Superior Dome in Marquette. Marion’s Mason Salisbury, right, trails the play. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

MARQUETTE — Welcome to high school football in January.

After not playing for nearly two months due to COVID-19, the North Central Jets made up for lost time here Saturday in a 50-2 rout of Marion in the Superior Dome in Marquette during an eight-player Division 2 semifinal that was among the first games to be played in Michigan during January.

“This feels amazing,” Jets senior lineman Fabian Chartier said. “It felt like we were starting all over again. In the first couple plays we hit our key points, but just didn’t get it done. Their quarterback (sophomore Mason Salisbury) is definitely the best back we faced all year. We knew we had to focus on him.”

The victory sent the Jets (10-0) to the state championship game at the indoor Legacy Center in Brighton, where they’ll face Portland St. Patrick (10-0) at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

“This felt great for the kids and community,” Jets coach Leo Gorzinski said. “The shutdown after the Cedarville game (their most recent playoff game, a 55-8 triumph on Nov. 13) was the toughest one, but the kids persevered and were hungry. I want to give a shout-out to the rest of the coaching staff. They’re a big part of what makes our engine run.”

Salisbury, who ran for 11 yards on Marion’s first play from scrimmage, completed 5 of 10 passes for 74 yards. The Eagles (8-2) were limited to 27 yards on the ground.

“Their speed on the line made a big difference,” Marion coach Chad Grundy said. “Our guys struggled with their blocking and we couldn’t get anything going on offense.”

QB Luke Gorzinski gave North Central an 8-0 lead on a 40-yard run through the middle just 97 seconds in. The sophomore quarterback ran for three more scores and passed for another as the Jets expanded their lead to 36-0 by the end of the opening quarter.

Junior reserve QB Brent LaBonte gave the Jets a 44-0 cushion on a 15-yard shovel pass to senior Carter Eichmeier with 8:24 left in the second frame and junior Wyatt Raab added a 47-yard TD dash around left end at 5:08.

The Eagles averted the shutout with a safety in the final 31 seconds.

The Jets finished with 275 yards in total offense. Luke Gorzinski, who played mainly in just the opening period, ran nine times for 123 yards and Raab added 65 on just three carries.


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