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Prep Football: Nordics spill Ontonagon, 54-22

FELCH — Scoring early and often is what the North Dickinson Nordics did Friday night in a 54-22 win over the Ontonagon Gladiators in Great Lakes Conference 8 West Division action.

Nordics running back Brandon Thao scored the first of his five touchdowns on the night at the 8:38 mark of the first quarter to put ND ahead 8-0, after a Thao 2-point conversion run.

Ontonagon then went on a 10-play scoring drive, capped off by a 2-yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown by Ike Bramlett to make the score 8-6 Nordics.

On the ensuing kickoff, things got interesting. Brennan Donaldson of the Nordics received the kickoff running down the home sideline, all of a sudden stopped dead in his tracks and threw a backwards pass across the field to Cameron Schultz.

Schultz caught the pass from Donaldson and at approximately the 35-yardline and returned it for a 65-yard touchdown. A failed point-after made the score 14-6.

Four plays in to the second quarter, Donaldson hit Hunter Parent on a 35-yard touchdown pass at the 10:22 mark. A Donaldson to Schultz pass for the 2-point conversion extended the Nordics lead to 22-6. After a three and out, Ontonagon’s short punt gave the Nordics good field position.

On the first play from scrimmage, Thao scored on a 44-yard touchdown run, his second of the night, bring the score to 28-6 at 8:35 remaining before halftime. The Gladiators turned the ball over on downs on their next drive, near midfield. Once again, on the first play from scrimmage for the Nordics, Thao scored his third touchdown of the night, this time from 56 yards out. A failed PAT attempt left the score at 34-6 home team.

Getting the ball back for one last possession before halftime, the Nordics extended their lead to 40-6 on a 46-yard touch down pass from Donaldson to Maximus Mattson with 1:38 left in the half. The PAT failed, and the 40-6 North Dickinson lead was the halftime score.

The Nordics received the second half kickoff, then Thao scored once again on the first play from scrimmage, on a 49-yard touchdown run, his fourth of the night. Schultz added a succesful PAT to bring the score to 47-6 Nordics.

With the running clock rule in effect after the last Nordics score, nearly nine minuets ticked off the game clock, when Thao got in to the endzone for the fifth time at 3:00 minuets left in the third quarter. A successful Schultz PAT extended North Dickinson lead to 54-6.

On the ensuing kickoff, Ontonagon’s Steven Graff returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. Gaff added a 2-point conversion to make the score 54-14. After recovering the onside kick, the Gladiators added a late touchdown on a 5-yard pass from Bramlett to Austin Walters. Bramlett added the two-point conversion on a run to make the score 54-22.

Nordics head coach Mike Christian was pleased with his teams effort on the night.

“We showed up with a lot of excitement tonight, got off to a fast start, something that we usually don’t do” Christian said. “Brandon (Thao) was outstanding tonight, running the ball of course, but on defense as well. It was a great team win, especially to win on homecoming.”

For Ontonagon’s first-year coach Ray Bramlett, dealing with a young roster all season has been a challenge. The Gladiators have three seniors on their roster.

“There was a-lot of fight in our kids, right to the end,” Bramlett said. “We moved the ball tonight at certain points, which is a good thing. Not being able to stop the outside run has been a problem all season for us. Thao took advantage of that all night.”

The Gladiators struggled to run the ball on the night, gained most of their positive yardage through the air. Bramlett had 144 passing yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Walters had five receptions for 101 yards.

North Dickinson had 435 offensive yards, including 333 rushing and 102 passing. Thao led the way with 244 yards on 13 carries. He was also the Nordics leading tackler with 12. Schultz and Donaldson had interceptions.

Ontonagon travles to Forest Park next week. The Nordics host Carney-Nadeau.

Ontonagon 6 0 8 8 — 22

N Dickinson 14 26 14 0 — 54

First Quarter

ND — Thao 2 run (2-point conversion), 8:38

O — Bramlett 2 Yard Run (2-point conversion), 4:00

ND — Schultz 65 Yard Kickoff Return on a Lateral From Donaldson (Kick Failed), 3:47

Second Quarter

ND — Thao 44 run (kick failed), 8:35

ND — Thao 56 run (kick failed), 5:12

ND — Mattson 46 pass from Donaldson (kick failed), 1:38

Third Quarter

ND — Thao 49 run (Schultz Kick), 11:42

ND — Thao 10 run (Schultz Kick), 3:00

O — Graff 80 kickoff return (Graff Run), 0:10

Fourth Quarter

O — Walters 5 pass Bramlett (Bramlett Run), 2:45

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