L'ANSE - Mark Leaf never had any doubts his L'Anse High football team would bounce back after a nightmarish game against Northland Pines last week.
"We had some very good practices during the week," the LHS coach noted after his team's 47-6 dismantling of Munising Friday night at Meadowbrook Field. "I could tell the kids were going to be ready for this game."
It was an important win for the Purple Hornets and may lead to hosting a first round playoff game\, according to Leaf.
"You never know until they announce the pairings (Sunday, 6 p.m., Fox Sports Net Detroit), but I believe we have a good chance of hosting next week," he said. "Whether it will be against Forest Park or Gogebic, I don't know. But we're still playing and that's the main thing."
The Purple Gang took the starch out of the Mustangs right from the get-go, marching 65 yards in seven plays on the opening series of the non-league contest.
Sophomore tailback Brandon Kemppainen covered the final 31 yards of the opening drive. Quarterback Jacob Ostermeyer passed to Jimmy Veker for the two-point conversion to make it 8-0.
Munising 0 0 6 0 - 6
L'Anse 22 19 6 0 - 47
LA -Brandon Kemppainen 31 run (Jimmy Veker pass from Jacob Ostermeyer)
LA - Veker 30 run (Veker run)
LA - Kemppainen 26 pass from Ostermeyer (pass failed)
LA -Cody Goldsworthy 1 run (Veker kick)
LA - Kemppainen 4 run (kick failed)
LA - Brett Martinez 26 pass from Ostermeyer (kick failed)
MU - Noah Ackerman 1 run (pass failed)
LA - Goldsworthy 19 run (kick failed)
First downs: MU 6; LA 11; Rushing: MU 29-81; LA 40-309; Ind. rushing: MU Walther 20-79; LA Veker 8-151; Goldsworthy 10-70; Kemppainen 7-60; Receiving: MU NA; LA Kemppainen 1-26; Martinez 1-26; Passing; MU Ackerman 2-8-4-62; Ostermeyer, 3-4-0-58.
"That opening drive was important for us," Leaf said. "We were controlling the line of scrimmage and opening holes for our running backs."
Munising lost a fumble at midfield on it next possesion and the eventual winners were quick to cash in.
Veker, who led the Hornets with 151 yards in just eight carries, sprinted 30 yards to paydirt. The junior tailback/end added the PAT with a run and it was 16-0 barely six minutes into the contest.
Kemppainen got back into the scoring action later in the opening frame when he caught a 26-yard pass from Ostermeyer to up the count to 22-0.
A Veker interception just before the end of the opening quarter put his team in business at the Munising 38.
Fullback Cody Goldsworthy plunged one yard for a score to finish a short drive. Veker booted the PAT kick and L'Anse was in control at 29-0.
Kemppainen added a 4-yard run later in the period and Brett Martinez caught a 26-yard scoring strike from Ostermeyer to complete a total half of domination that ended with LHS ahead by a 41-0 score.
The Mustangs got on the scoreboard early in the third quarter when Noah Ackerman went one yard to paydirt.
Goldsworthy -- one of just five seniors on the roster -- scooted 19 yards for the final points of the evening later in the third stanza.
Leaf praised the defensive efforts of linebackers Gaven Picciano and Goldsworthy as well as Veker, who made two interceptions. Picciano and Joey Hansen also had picks.
"We put a lot of pressure on their quarterback, that caused the interceptions," Leaf noted.
Should the 7-2 Hornets get to host a playoff game, it would be the first at Meadowbrook. A home playoff game in 2007 had to be shifted to Baraga because of bad field conditions.
"A home playoff game would be a nice bonus for us," Leaf commented. "We exceeded all expectations this fall and it was a great season."
Munising, finishing with a 2-7 record, was paced by Ryan Walthers with 79 yards in 20 carries.