FELCH - Lake Linden-Hubbell gained a critical victory Friday in non-conference play, defeating North Dickinson 16-8 on the road and boosting its hopes of a postseason berth.
"At the end of the day, we're giving ourselves a chance, and the way they responded tonight puts us in a position to get into the playoffs," LL-H coach Andy Crouch said.
The Lakes (5-3) were strong defensively, holding North Dickinson (the third-ranked Division 8 team in the U.P. and seventh-ranked D-8 team in Michigan, to 150 rushing yards, 75 of which came on one touchdown run by Matthew Schultz.
LL-H took the lead in the second quarter on a 3-yard run by Tylor Rickard and held the Nordics off the board until early in the fourth quarter, when Schultz busted the touchdown run.
After stopping the next Nordic drive, the Lakes had a moment to remember, as Cole Beauchamp cut to the near sideline and raced alongside a wall of blockers for a 70-yard punt return score that ended up providing the final margin.
"Probably one of the biggest plays in our program in many years," Crouch said.
The Nordics drove down to the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter but were stoned cold by the Lakes on four straight downs inside the five.
"We played extremely well at the line of scrimmage tonight and we had a lot of gold helmets there every time North Dickinson had the ball," Crouch said.
LL-H then successfully ran out the clock.
"They had a great defensive game plan and they did enough offensively," said Nordic coach Joe Reddinger to the Daily News of Iron Mountain, noting the Lakes dominated time of possession. "We're usually the one holding onto the football."
Rickard ran for 125 yards on 20 carries to lead LL-H. Beauchamp added 71 yards.
LL-H hosts Forest Park in its regular season finale next Saturday knowing a win would secure automatic playoff qualification and a share of the Great Western Conference title. Even without a win, the Lakes would have favorable odds of receiving a 'wild card' berth as a 5-4 team.
LL-Hubbell 0 8 0 8 - 16
N. Dickinson 0 0 0 8 - 8
LLH - Tylor Rickard, 3-yard run (Rickard run), 9:32
ND - Schultz, 75-yard run (O'Neill run), 11:45
LLH - Cole Beauchamp, 70-yard punt return (Rickard run), 8:38
First down - LLH 12, ND 7; Total offense - LLH 228 (0 pass, 228 run), ND 190 (40 pass, 150 rush); Rushing, LLH - Rickard 20-125 1 TD, Beauchamp 12-71; ND - Schultz 13-99, Wagner 14-46; Passing - Mitchel Kumpula 0-5-0; ND, O'Neil 3-9-40
West Iron County 35,
IRON RIVER - West Iron scored on its first four possessions and stayed unbeaten with a 35-6 win over Hancock in WestPAC football Friday.
With the win, coach Mike Berutti's Wykons became the first 8-0 team in school history and locked up the conference title.
"Hancock played hard, but we came out and controlled the line of scrimmage," Berutti said.
Playing through a steady rain, Alec Schmelebeck rushed for 91 yards and scored the game's first TD on a 30-yard scamper. Chasz Jonet racked up 84 yards and two TDs.
Andrew Peterson threw scoring passes of 52 and 36 yards to Ryan Rogers.
The Wykons totaled 425 yards of offense while limiting Hancock to 152.
The Bulldogs (3-5, 2-3) hit the scoreboard on the game's final play on a 17-yard pass from Tanner Kearly to Alex Almquist.
The Wykons (8-0, 6-0) wrap up the regular season on Friday at Bark River-Harris.
Hancock (3-5, 2-3 WestPAC) is eliminated from postseason consideration, but hosts Houghton in the Copper Bowl next Friday.
Hancock 0 0 0 6 - 6
West Iron 21 7 7 0 - 0
WIC - Alec Schmelebeck, 30-yd. run (Ryan Rogers kick).
WIC - Chasz Jonet, 3-yd. run (Rogers kick).
WIC - Rogers, 52-yd. pass from Andrew Peterson (Rogers kick).
WIC - Jonet, 34-yd. run (Rogers kick)
WIC - Rogers, 36-yd. pass from Peterson (Rogers kick).
H - Alex Almquist, 17-yd. pass from Tanner Kearly.
Total offense: Hancock, 152 yards (80 rushing, 72 passing). West Iron, 425 yards (298 rushing, 127 passing).
Rushing, Hancock, 25-80. West Iron, 40-298 (Schmelebeck, 8-91; Jonet, 5-84).
Passing, Hancock, 7-14, 72 yds., 1 TD. West Iron (Peterson), 5-7, 127 yds., 2 TDs, 1 int.
Receiving: West Iron, Rogers, 3-97; Schmelebeck, 1-23.
First downs: Hancock 5. West Iron 9.
Hurley, Wis. 55, Ontonagon 12
HURLEY, Wis. - The Midgets finished their season with a flourish, scoring on offense, defense and special teams in the first seven minutes to roll past Ontonagon.
Roman Lupino's interception of Drew Morris and subsequent 60-yard touchdown return got the ball rolling, then after Ontonagon punted, Michael Brannigan returned the kick 52 yards to the house.
Mitchell Maki added a TD run on the next drive.
Ontonagon broke a big play in the first quarter on a 67-yard pass from Morris to Tony Soumis, but trailed 48-6 at the half.
Morris and Soumis connected on another long pass play, a 68-yarder, for the Gladiators to net a consolation touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Morris threw for 201 yards for the Gladiators, but was intercepted four times.
Ontonagon (0-8, 0-5 Great Western Conference) hosts Baraga in the regular season finale next Friday, while Hurley (8-1, 4-1 GWC) awaits its opponent in the first round of the Wisconsin playoffs next weekend and could gain a share of the GWC crown if Lake Linden-Hubbell were to defeat Forest Park next Saturday.
Ontonagon 6 0 0 6 - 12
Hurley 28 20 7 0 - 55
Hur - Roman Lupino 60 interception return (Lupino run), 11:02
Hur - Michael Brannigan 52 punt return (Jared Wendt from Jake Tenlen), 9:52
Hur - Mitchell Maki 10 run (run failed), 5:28
Ont - Tony Soumis 67 pass from Drew Morris (pass failed), 5:09
Hur - Mark Saari 45 run (kick failed), 3:48
Hur - Wendt 4 pass from Tenlen (Jordan Moore kick), 11:54
Hur - Lupino 41 run (kick failed), 9:20
Hur - Saari 67 run (Moore kick), 6:41
Hur - Maki 30 run (Moore kick), 8:25
Ont - Soumis 68 pass from Morris (pass failed), 6:30
First downs - ONT 3, HUR 19; Total offense - ONT 203 (201 pass, 2 rush), HUR 515 (511 rush, 4 pass); Rushing - Ontonagon, Tony Soumis 5-18, Kyle Karttunen 1-2, Drew Morris 6-minus 18. Hurley, Mark Saari 9-171, Roman Lupino 5-85, Nick Fink 9-71, Cole Huotari 12-62, Devin Czerneski 7-46, Mitchell Maki 9-39, Tandrell Foster 6-24, Jake Tenlen 2-13.
Passing - Ontonagon, Drew Morris 8-16-201-4. Hurley, Jake Tenlen 1-1-4-0.
Receiving - Ontonagon, Tony Soumis 6-147, Noel Jenney 1-52, Kyle Karttunen 1-2. Hurley, Jared Wendt 1-4.
L'Anse 35, Northland Pines, Wis. 13
EAGLE RIVER, Wis. - L'Anse claimed second place in the 2013 WestPAC football standings by clubbing Northland Pines on its home field Friday night.
No statistics were available from the game at press time.
The win puts the Purple Hornets at 7-1 (6-1 WestPAC) going into their season finale at Munising Friday and maintains their chances of having a home game in the first round of the Division 8 playoffs.