L'ANSE - The Houghton Gremlins were expecting to see a whole lot of L'Anse tailback Jim Veker Friday night in the football opener at Meadowbrook Field.
Instead, they got a full dose of LHS fullback Cody Goldsworthy.
Goldworthy gashed the Houghton defense for 144 yards in 21 carries and two touchdowns to pace a 34-0 WestPAC win.
L’Anse’s Gaven Picciano hauls down Houghton quarterback Ryan LaBerge during Friday’s game at Meadowbrook Field. The Purple Hornets took the 34-0 victory. (Paul Peterson photo)
"I thought Cody Goldsworthy and Jimmy (Veker) ran very hard tonight," LHS skipper Mark Leaf said afterward. "It's nice to have two runnners like that."
Coach Karl Borree's debut at the helm of the Orange and and Black wasn't all bad. The Gremlins moved the ball well at times, but bogged down on at least two occasions inside the L'Anse 10-yard line.
"I was very pleased with our defensive effort," Leaf commented. "Houghton moved the ball and had shots at scoring ... but we stepped up and made big plays."
Houghton 0 0 0 0 - 0
L'Anse 6 8 12 8 - 34
LA - Jim Veker 2 run (run failed)
LA - Cody Goldsworthy 2 run (Goldsworthy run)
LA - Veker 5 run (pass failed)
LA - Veker 34 pass from Ostermeyer (run failed)
LA - Goldsworthy 50 run (Veker pass from Ostermeyer)
Game stats: First downs: Houghton 8, L'Anse 17; Yards rushing: Houghton 42-90; L'Anse 42-214; Ind. rushing: Hou: Collaer 12-47; LA: Goldsworthy 21-144; Veker 14-42. Receiving: HO: Kaarto 1-28; LA: Veker 2-47.
The Purple Gang cashed in on a Houghton miscue on the game's opening series, recovering a fumble at the Gremlins 22-yard line.
Veker, who tallied three times on the hot and muggy evening, jumped in from two yards out for a 6-0 lead.
Another short field led to another L'Anse touchdown in the second quarter when Goldsworthy plunged in from two yards away to cap a 44-yard drive. That upped the lead to 14-0 at the halftime.
A 71-yard scoring drive to begin the second half put the Purple Gang in command by a 20-0 count. Veker scored from five yards out, but the PAT run failed.
After the Gremlins failed to move the football, L'Anse was at it again.
A 51-yard scoring drive was culminated by a 34-yard scoring pass from quarterback Jacob Ostermeyer to Veker, who made a leaping catch at the goal line.
Goldsworthy, a 6-foot-3, 215-pounder, showed some speed in escaping for a 50-yard TD run early in the fourth period.
The 91-yard drive was set up when Houghton couldn't gain a first down on a second and less than a yard at the Hornets 9-yard line.
"That stand there was a big one," Leaf said. "I thought we were able to control the line of scrimmage all night and that was the difference in the ballgame."
Veker chipped in 44 yards and had another 47 yards in pass receptions to abet the big game by Goldsworthy.
The L'Anse defense limited the visitors to 90 yards rushing and 34 passing, thanks to the inside rush led by big tackle Alex Karcher.
"Alex (Karcher) had a great game and our linebacking duo of Goldsworthy and Gaven Picciano was also outstanding," Leaf said.
Ryan LaBerge had his moments running the ball for the Gremlins and also did a nice job of punting.
Ben Collaer paced the HHS running game with 47 yards.
The Hornets face a powerful West Iron County team next Thursday at home - a game that Leaf knows will be tough to win.
"We left some points out on the field in the first half tonight," he pointed out. "We can't afford that against West Iron."
Houghton travels to Westwood next Thursday in non-league play.