Warm weather not enough to stop determined Gladiators
ONTONAGON — The Ontonagon Gladiators beat the heat and humidity as well as knocking off North Dickinson 28-6 in a Great Lakes Conference West game in a rare Thursday afternoon contest.
Thursday morning had actually started kind of cool, but by game time, the sun was high in the sky and it seemed to get hotter and hotter as the game went on.
“Boy was it hot,” Ontonagon coach Ben Mayer said. “It was a hot, slow game. We kept it slow on purpose, that was the plan. Our conditioning is real good. Our guys work real hard in the off-season and they’re in shape. They hang in there in the fourth quarter and don’t get hurt as much in these types of games. We played hard and it was a good win.”
“It (the game) wasn’t always pretty, but we would pound it on offense and then throw it over the top. The key to the game was we really played good defense. We want to make teams work for their yards. Mengoz and (Eli) Huntzinger did a very good job running the ball and we had no turnovers today and that will always keep you in games.”
Henry Menigoz, who was a workhorse with 22 carries for 113 yards, agreed with his coach.
“It was toasty out there,” Menigoz said. “We work hard the whole off-season, so it’s great to get our first win. It was a tough game in the trenches, but our defense didn’t give up any points.”
Dickinson coach Mike Christian said his team’s youth played a part in their loss to the Glads.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys,” Christian said. “We have three seniors and two juniors and the rest are sophomores. On defense, we would make the hit but not make the tackle. Kudos to our defense, especially Matthew Bruette, who had lots of tackles. And our quarterback (Brennan Donaldson) is only a sophomore and he’s a good player.
“Ontonagon is pretty solid. They are big and strong and their backs run hard. The best thing about this game is there was nothing dirty out there-it was good, clean football.”
The Gladiators started out the game by going on a 10 play, 65 yard drive. On a third down and long play, quarterback Noah Kaarto scrambled and took off on a 43 yard scamper. Menigoz followed with a 21 yard run and scored from one yard out at the 7:07 mark. Menigoz ran in the 2-point conversion to take an 8-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Nordic’s Cameron Shultz fielded Ed Polakowski’s kick on the fly, ran down the right sideline, turned on the jets and went 70 yards for a TD. The conversion failed, but North Dickinson was only down two points at 8-6.
“After the kickoff return, I thought we’d get the momentum and we moved the ball a little but couldn’t finish,” Christian said.
After a 17 yard aerial to Polakowski, the Gladiators pounded the ball on the ground behind Kaarto and Menigoz and then Kaarto found sophomore Eli Huntzinger with a pass in the east end zone with 3:08 left. The conversion run misfired and Ontonagon went up 14-6.
In the second quarter, Polakowsi got off a long punt and the Nordics fumbled it. Kaarto pounced on it and Kaarto hit Huntzinger again from five yards out or a touchdown with :58 seconds left. It was 20-6 at the half.
In the third quarter, Ontonagon marched downfield and Menigoz hit the off tackle hole to the right, reversed direction to his left and out-ran the defense for a 15 yard score. Menigoz then ran the option play with Kaarto and converted 2-point conversion and finished the scoring at 28-6.
Donaldson led the Nordic rushing attack with 17 carries for 54 yards.
The Gladiators rolled up 301 yards rushing with Menigoz rushing for 113 yards and Kaarto carried 12 times for 101 yards. Ontonagon totaled 301 yards rushing.
The Gladiators (1-1) host Superior Central on Friday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. (EDT) in another conference game.
“Superior Central is a tough, very fast team,” Mayer said. “It will be a good match-up.”
North Dickinson 6 0 0 0 — 6
Ontonagon 14 6 8 0 — 28
Ont. — Henry Menigoz 1 run (Menigoz run), 7:07, 8-0
ND — Cameron Shultz 70 yard kickoff return, (run failed), 6:54, 8-6
Ont. — Eli Huntzinger 21 yard pass from Kaarto (run failed), 3:08, 14-6
Ont. — Eli Huntzinger 5 yard pass from Kaarto (run failed), 0:58, 20-6
Ont. — Henry Menigoz 15 run (Menigoz run), 3:58, 28-6
First downs 6 12
Rushes-yards 29-68 45-301
Comp-Att-Int 3-10-1 3-6-0
Passing yards 35 43
Total yards 103 344
Fumbles-lost 2-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 6-35 6-39
RUSHING — North Dickinson, Brennan Donaldson 17-54, Matthew Bruette 10-12, Cameron Shultz 2-2. Ontonagon, Noah Kaarto 12-101, Eli Huntzinger 8-69, Henry Menigoz 22-113, Wyatt McIntyre 3-18.
PASSING — North Dickinson, Brennan Donaldson 3-10-1-35, Ontonagon, Noah Kaarto 3-6-0-38.
RECEIVING — North Dickinson Cameron Schulz 1-21, Zachary Depotie 1-12, Maximus Mattson 1-4. Ontonagon, Ed Polakowski 1-17, Eli Huntzinger 2-26.