POWERS - It was a wild one, alright.
Eventually, the North Central Jets just had too much to overcome and fell to the Lake Linden-Hubbell Lakes 30-24 Friday night.
It wasn't for lack of effort on the part of Jets' sophomore sensation Rob Granquist.
Abandoning the run early on, the Jets of head coach Kevin Bellefeuil leaned so heavily on the young quarterback's arm, it's a wonder it didn't fall off.
Granquist did his best to lift the Jets atop his shoulders, dropping back to pass an astounding 41 times and completing 18 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns.
Bellefeuil was more than impressed with his young quarterback.
"That's a 15-year old kid going back in the pocket. Guys are blitzing him, they're hitting him and receivers aren't catching every throw he makes," he said. "He made some throws that they didn't make that could have been big plays for us. That's not to say they didn't work hard though.
"I can't say enough 'bout Rob. He stood in there and did the job. There's a lot of good things to come from Rob Granquist."
LL-H coach Andy Crouch wasn't looking forward to the next time his team had to go up against Rob Granquist.
"We took away the run, but we had trouble stopping their pass. The second quarter seemed like it took an eternity (due to all the pass attempts).
"The thing North Central did well was they pass protected and their quarterback got rid of the ball in a hurry. He's a good player and I wish he was a senior. Obviously he's a sophomore and we'll have to deal with him for the next couple years."
The Lakes were able to overcome the air attack by being opportunistic with their 198 rushing yards.
To say LL-H won the field position game would be an understatement. The Lakes began three of their first four drives in Jets territory and scored on their first two possessions, going exclusively to their rushing attack. Whether it was small and quick Beau Dupuis, who scored on a 24-yard blast in the first quarter, or fullback Tylor Rickard who powered it in from just outside the goal-line, LL-H's three-headed monster at running back whet its appetite. Cody Kumpula led the way with 97 yards and a touchdown on 16 attempts.
With just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Lakes held a 16-0 lead and it wasn't even as close as the score indicated.
The Jets at that point had no answer from their own ground game as the Lakes took nearly everything away, holding North Central to an anemic 34 rushing yards.
It was then that the Jets fueled up and took the skies. Rob Granquist, who's first three passes went errant, hit three in a row on the ensuing drive, including a 27-yard zip to Josh Granquist to get North Central on the board.
From then on, it was all air. Granquist to Granquist, Granquist to Devin Woodrazka and Granquist to Nick Sexton.
The strategy paid off initially, as a second Granquist to Granquist touchdown pass gave the Jets a 24-22 lead just before halftime.
"Lake Linden put so many guys in the box and our guys didn't have their heads up," said Bellefeuil on abandoning the run. "They confused the heck out of us with that defense. Our guys didn't know who to block. Everyone was thinking and not going where they were supposed to go."
The only miscue for Rob Granquist came at the beginning of the second quarter when Lakes defensive back Cody Kumpula stepped in front of a pass just in front of the goal line and took off untouched all the way downfield until he was brought down on the opposite eight-yard line.
"We took the easy way out on a route down here that put our quarterback in conflict instead of putting the linebacker in conflict. (Granquist) made a throw and the guy picked it off. We made a heck of a play to get down and stop him before the touchdown, but we gave them a couple of things early and you just can't do that against good football teams," lamented Bellefeuil.
Still, the Jets had a chance to win late. After a defensive stop that burned North Central's last remaining time out, the Jets got the ball back on their own 37-yard line and 1:41 remaining.
Granquist dropped back and hit Nick Sexton for a huge 30-yard gain, but the cheers quickly turned to groans when the yellow flags flew for an illegal motion penalty. That moved the Jets back their own 28-yard line where their offense fizzled and time expired.
For Rob Granquist, the 2-minute offense was right where he wanted to be.
"I thought we were going to do it," he said. "I have that confidence that we could have pulled it off."
As for the huge passing numbers, that was something new for the young quarterback.
"I've never had a game like that," he said. "The line protected as well as they could when Lake Linden was bringing a lot of pressure."
LL-H?(2-1)?travels to Bessemer to face the Gogebic Miners next week.
LL-Hubbell 16 6 0 8 - 30
N. Central 8 16 0 0 - 24