2017-11-09 / Sports

Warriors win regionals!

By Mike Gallagher
Sports Reporter - mgallagher@mihomepaper.com


The North Huron football team poses with their regional championship trophy Friday night. 
Photo by Mike Gallagher The North Huron football team poses with their regional championship trophy Friday night. Photo by Mike Gallagher KINDE – With their 38-36 victory over Bay City All Saints Friday night, the North Huron Warriors are regional champs for the first time since 2013, and only the second time in school history.

The Warriors defeated All Saints for the second time this season, and for the second time, it was a closely contested game.

“This was a battle,” said North Huron head coach Issac Viers. “These guys worked their butts off on their side and on our side. This was a lot of fun.”

The game couldn’t have started any better for the Warriors, as running back Mike Craig ripped off a 65-yard touchdown run on the first play for North Huron.

All Saints answered quickly though, as JP Szczypka scored a 65-yard touch- down of his own, on the All Saints’ second play.


North Huron coach Chad Knoblock jumps into the arms of lineman Tom Toner, as they celebrate their victory over Bay City All Saints Friday night. 
Photo by Mike Gallagher North Huron coach Chad Knoblock jumps into the arms of lineman Tom Toner, as they celebrate their victory over Bay City All Saints Friday night. Photo by Mike Gallagher The scoring continued in the first quarter, as an 18-yard touchdown pass from Ty Knoblock to Alex Schornack gave North Huron a 14-6 lead with 8:30 remaining in the quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, Warrior kicker Tom Toner put the ball on the two yard line of Bay City All Saint. The Warrior defense forced All Saints to punt from their own 12-yard line, giving North Huron the ball back on the All Saints’ 35-yard line.

The Warriors didn’t take long to extend their lead, as Craig scored his second touchdown of the night, giving North Huron a 22-6 lead, with 6:06 left in the first quarter.

Late in the first quarter, and facing second-and-17 from their own endzone, All Saints quarterback Oliver Dixon launched a deep ball to Szczypka, which he took 97 yards for a touchdown, and the North Huron lead was 22-14 at the end of an exciting first quarter.

The second quarter started strongly, but finished badly for the Warriors.

John Hood scored on 5-yard run to give North Huron a 30-14 lead, with 5:19 left in the first half.

In those last five minutes and 19 seconds, All Saints scored 16 unanswered points, including a 55-yard punt return by Szczypka with only 1.8 seconds remaining to tie the game before halftime.

What went on in the halftime locker room changed the outcome of the game for the Warriors.

“A lot of what we did in the locker room was just these guys talking with each other,” said Viers. “Communicating on stuff we were messing up on. Instead of yelling at each other, we just got to sit around and talk about what was going on, what was going well, what was going bad, and why we fell apart at the end there.”

The talk worked for the Warriors, as they held All Saints to only six points in the second half.

“I think that for these guys, it finally just clicked,” said Viers. “They stopped worrying about every play and worrying about what each guy’s job was, and focused on their own job. I think they realized that everyone was on the same page and trusted that their team was there for them.”

All Saints took their first lead of the game late in the third quarter, when Szczypka threw a five-yard touchdown pass, but the Warriors were not down for long.

All Saints had the ball on their own 27-yard line, but a bad snap was pounced on by North Huron defensive lineman, Austin Leavine, giving the Warriors the ball back in great field position.

Knoblock capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown dive, and converted the important two-point conversion by throwing to Schornack again, giving North Huron a 38-36 lead with 7:52 left in the game.

The Warrior defense made a strong stand on the All Saints next possession, forcing them to punt the ball back to North Huron with 5:22 left in the game.

All Saints would not see the ball on offense again.

A 13-play drive that was finished off by a fourth down pass from Knoblock to Schornack with 54 seconds remaining, would eat up the rest of the game clock, giving All Saints no change to score again.

“We’ve talked about it all week,” said Viers of the final drive for the Warriors. “Coming out and hitting, coming out and hitting, and coming out and hitting. We knew these guys had that ability, we saw it on that last drive, and it was fun to watch.”

Craig led the Warrior offense with 214 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Hoody added 79 yards rushing, and Knoblock threw for 80 yards.

Defensively, Andrew Pechette had 13 tackles, Frank Duda had 11 tackles, and Leavine had 10 tackles.

North Huron will now move on to the 8-Player Division 2 State Semifinals, where they will face Portland St. Patrick.

“I think these guys now know, after their battle with Peck and with the battle tonight, that they will be ready,” said Viers.

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