2017-09-14 / Sports

Harbor Beach knocks off Rockets 32-7

By Jacob Kennedy
Contributing writer


Harbor Beach’s James Schelke ( #5) finds some open running room down by the end zone and scores from 11 yards out. Schelke would finish with three touchdown runs on the day. 
Photos by Jacob Kennedy Harbor Beach’s James Schelke ( #5) finds some open running room down by the end zone and scores from 11 yards out. Schelke would finish with three touchdown runs on the day. Photos by Jacob Kennedy HARBOR BEACH - The Pirates of Harbor Beach didn’t shy away from the challenge of facing the undefeated Reese and beat the Rockets 32-7.

Harbor Beach pounded the turf early as they scored on their opening drive on a two-yard touchdown run from #5 James Schelke.

Schelke had some big runs on that drive, including a big 4th-down run to keep the drive going, which ended up finding pay-dirt. Schelke also completed a pass to Mason Jahn for a first down to set them up with a 1st-and-goal.

The Rockets were unable to move the ball on their opening possession, only gaining three yards on the drive, and were forced to punt the ball back to the Pirates.

Austin Roberts played hot potato with a pass from Schelke on the Pirate’s next drive and ran to the house for a 64-yard pitch-and-catch to put the Pirates up 12-0. Schelke ran the ball into the end zone for the 2-point conversion.

The Rockets were set up with good field position on the ensuing kickoff by Easton Stockmeyer to start the drive from the 41-yard line.

After a first-down run by Reese Rockets quarterback Eathon Greenia, it was Luke DuRussel who was able to find the edge and run past everyone for a 49-yard touchdown run, then #11 Gabe Robinson kicked it straight through the uprights to make the score 14-7.

Harbor Beach moved the ball effectively on their next drive, but was unable to connect on a couple of passes and turned the ball over on downs.

The Rockets didn’t hang on to the ball long as Reese quarterback Adam Fischer couldn’t connect on the option play and fumbled the ball to the Pirates who took over on their own 48-yard line.

The Pirates stuck with the passing game but got nowhere as they turned the ball over on downs again to the Rockets.

The Rockets’ next possession was only for negative yardage. Jacob Deer for the Pirates came up with a huge sack of Fischer for a big loss, making it 4th-and-17, forcing the Rockets to punt again.

Schelke continued the struggle to complete a pass on the next play for the Pirates as he missed a wide-open Roberts who had all day to run.

After a run went for only four yards, Schelke dropped back to pass again, this time finding Mason Jahn for a big play to the Reese 39.

Harbor Beach was stopped on third down to set up a 4th-and-six and took a timeout to think it over. After coming to the line but having some miscommunication, the Pirates were forced to spend their final timeout of the half to avoid a delay of game penalty.

Schelke ran the ball for a first down after the time out, but it was for naught as there was a personal foul called on the Pirates, making it 4th-and-long.

Reese’s Robinson knocked down the pass from Schelke on that fourth down, giving the Rockets the ball.

Reese finally started to find some rhythm in the passing game and got a first down after a holding penalty backed up the Rockets deep in their own zone.

Reese tried another option play with the exact same results as Jacob Deer fell on the ball again for the Pirates’ second takeaway of the half.

Harbor Beach took over the ball on the Reese 32-yard line, but nothing would come of the opportunity as Harbor Beach turned the ball over on downs for the fourth straight time of the half.

“We were trying to do some things in the passing game and I think we got a little pass happy,” said Harbor Beach Head Coach Troy Schelke, regarding the four straight turnover on downs.

Harbor Beach would take a 14-7 lead into halftime.

The Pirates went back to what they’re known for in the second half, hard-nosed, knock-you-in-the-mouth runs.

Their first drive of the half resulted in six points as James Schelke ran the ball all over the Rocket defense and ended up punching it in for the 11-yard touchdown run.

Reese then took the ball and kept to their passing game. After a first-down pass got the Rockets rolling, Schelke intercepted the pass from Fischer and returned the ball to the Reese 32-yard line.

On the next drive for the Pirates, there was a personal foul called on the Rockets after a hit on Harbor Beach’s Devin Pfaff, who was carted off the field and was taken to the Harbor Beach hospital for further tests.

After the personal foul call, the Pirates got the ball on the Reese 11-yard line. Schelke put the ball into the end zone for his third touchdown of the game, putting the Pirates up 26-7.

Reese continued to struggle on their next possession. Fischer fumbled the pitch for the third time of the game, but the Rockets jumped on the ball to set up a 2nd-and-15.

A holding call backed the Rockets up again and set up a 3rd-and-25. A completed pass by Fischer made it 4th-and-8, forcing the Rockets to punt the ball away to the Pirates.

Harbor Beach got the ball with 22 seconds left in the third quarter and wouldn’t let the Rockets touch the ball again until just 14 seconds left in the game.

The Pirates pounded the ball down the field, led by Schelke and #32 Cole Anderson.

The mistakes kept coming for the Rockets as well. On a 3rd-and-5, the Pirates went to the hard count and forced the Rockets to jump off-sides to give the Pirates a first down.

This slow and methodical drive was finally capped off by a four-yard touchdown run by #10 Tyler Burkhard, making the score 32-7.

The Pirates held onto the ball for a total of 12:08, more than a quarter of the game.

“We haven’t had a drive like that in a couple of years,” said Schelke. “We were able to finish it on fourth down and I’m very proud of our guys.”

“Our hearts are with Devin [Pfaff],” said Schelke after the game. “We’re unsure of his status but we’re all praying for him and hoping he’s alright and if he is alright that he can get back soon because he’s a real tough leader and tough runner as well as a real good linebacker.”

The Pirates are on the road Friday, Sept. 18 against the struggling Marlette Red Raiders who were beaten up by the Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Lakers last Friday.

The Reese Rockets will travel to the aforementioned Lakers on Friday, Sept. 18 as well.

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