Converging Gaylord defenders, including“Spiderman” Nick Parker (15), make a stop of Ogemaw’s Brandon Benac.
Gaylord scores first but host Falcons have toomuch firepower in BNC clash
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Tough night for Blue Devils
Cheboygan 28, Sault Ste. Marie 27, OT
By Mike DunnCHEBOYGAN – TheCheboygan Chiefs of coachJack Coon entertained anoverflowing home crowdFriday at historic Western Avenue Field with a realthriller. Cheboygan prevailed28-27 over determined SaultSte. Marie in overtime as sen-ior QB Damon Proctor, show-ing purpose and poise in thepocket, delivered a precisionstrike to glue-fingered BenPearson in the end zone and Austin Ginop, with ice waterflowing through his veins,put what proved to be thegame-winning extra pointthrough the uprights. What a great game! Bothteams came into the contest with a 4-2 mark and very badly wanting to win to gainthe valuable playoff points.The closeness of the gamecan be seen in the final stats:Cheboygan had 13 firstdowns with 298 yards rush-ing and 28 through the air fora total of 326 yards; Sault had13 first downs with 286 total yards.Each team turned the ballover twice in the wild game.The Blue Devils successfully converted two onside kick attempts and converted oneof their turnovers into a 70- yard return for a touchdownto gain a 14-13 halftime lead.The never-say-die Chiefsnavigated an 11-play, 99 ½ yard drive in the second half to regain the lead.The seesaw game turnedout to be knotted at 21 afterregulation. Cheboygan wonthe critical coin toss andopted to let the Sault havethe ball first from the 10-yardline. The Blue Devils scoredon third down when KyleRoot busted over from 3 yards out but Matt Kibble’sextra point was blocked by the penetrating interior of the Chief line, so the visitorshad to settle for a six-pointlead, 27-21.Cheboygan then got theball and on first downProctor deftly faked into theline to gain some extra timein the pocket. With ManMountain Josh McDill, IanElliott and company forming a formidable black-and-orange wall of protectionagainst the big, aggressivefront wall of the Sault,Proctor was able to wait for“Petroleum” Pearson to break free out of the backfield. The10-yard tally tied the score at27, eliciting a sudden screamfrom everyone on the homeside of the Western Avenuebleachers after they couldbreathe again.The outcome of the tensebattle then shifted to theright leg of the unflappableGinop, who had barely missed a 32-yard field goal atthe end of regulation. Thistime the junior came throughbig time, booming the ballthrough the uprights whilelifting the hearts and voicesof the Cheboygan faithful atthe same time. Some said theball finally came down some- where near the downtowndistrict.Cheboygan’s dramatic wingives them a 5-2 log with afinal regular-season homegame this Friday againstBenzie Central (3-4) before aHUGE week-nine showdownat St. Ignace and the unbeat-en Saints as the Battle of theStraits resumes. Cheboyganis seeking its first playoff berth as an independent.It’s a credit to coach Coonand his staff how resilient theChiefs have been this seasonin spite of the rigors broughtabout by the rugged inde-pendent schedule, including very long road trips againsttough opponents.The Sault, which had lost11 straight to Cheboygancoming in, proved to be oneof the toughest opponentsthis season, as expected.The visitors took the early lead when Michael Jamesfound athletic Ray’Nell Anderson for a 6-yard scoreand Kibble was good with thePAT.The Chiefs answered withan aerial touchdown of theirown when Proctor, who facedheavy pressure at times fromthe savage, swarming BlueDevil defensive front, foundtight end John Garst in theflats and Garst completed an18-yard score. Ginop’s bootmade it a 7-7 game.Then it was bruising full-back Nik Bevier, who com-bines Cadillac speed withpickup truck power, finding aseam straight ahead behindthe blocking of Elliott andColton Hudak and busting loose for a sudden 64-yardtouchdown.The Chiefs’ cornerback Nick Comps then recovered afumble on the ensuing kick-off to give his team great fieldposition and it appeared theChiefs would quickly add totheir lead. But the Blue Devilsshowed plenty of passion inthis one and refused to godown without a fierce fight.On Cheboygan’s first play after Comps’ fumble recov-ery, it was Root of the Saultmaking an incredible defen-sive play, stripping the balland motoring 70 yards theother way.Instead of Cheboygan tak-ing a two-touchdown lead,the visitors from the Saultturned the tables just thatfast and now they were infront by a point, 14-13.The Blue Devils had all themomentum at that point.They recovered a surpriseonside kick and sought toadd to their lead just beforethe half, moving deep intoCheboygan territory. Butcoach Sturvist’s stubbornChiefs’ defense managed tokeep them out of the endzone. Still, when the buzzersounded at Western AvenueField, the Chiefs were downon the scoreboard by a point,14-13.“Both teams could havebeen ahead at half,” Coontold a reporter from the SaultEvening News after the game.“They could've been up by two scores, we could've beenup by two scores. That's thechallenge in coaching because the kids were as low as a snake's belly.” At the outset of the secondhalf, the Blue Devils triedanother onside kick and it worked again as Jack Seeley pounced on the ball, giving the Sault excellent field posi-tion once again.The Sault moved the balldeep into Chief territory again but somehow theChiefs found a way to pre-vent them from scoring again.The Blue Devils had first-and-goal at the 5 beforeCheboygan did its version of the Sturvist Stomp. Defensivetackle Josh McDill, arawhide-tough senior three- year starter in the trenches,sacked Sault quarterback James twice to push the ballback to the 18-yard line. Onfourth down from there,James connected with theleaping Anderson but he wastackled and stopped justinches short of the goal line.The good news from theCheboygan perspective wasthat the Sturvist Stormers didtheir job and held. The badnews was that the Chief offense was starting at itsown 1-foot line still down by a point against a swarming,physical Blue Devil defense.Cheboygan showed itsmettle, however, as Pearson,Bevier, Andrew Dixon andProctor took turns toting theball and finding spacebehind the blow-away blocksof McDill, Elliott, Hudak,Seth Johnson and BrandonOrr along with tight endsGarst and Ginop and seniorStan Swiderek, who blockedsavagely and looked very stylish doing so in those dis-tinctive Cheboygan orangepants.Dixon, the little package of dynamite, capped the mon-ster drive with a short plungeto paydirt. Proctor then hitPearson for two points and a21-14 advantage on thescoreboard. Anyone who thought theBlue Devils would be dis-couraged after giving up anear 100-yard scoring march was completely wrong. TheSault came to fight and did.The visitors had a chance toshow their mettle and did so,coming back to score in thefourth quarter and tie thingsagain.The Chiefs, not to be out-done, moved the ball intoSault turf on their final driveof regulation and very nearly won it at the end but Ginop’sfield-goal attempt justmissed.That set up the overtimeand its drama.Bevier was the beast of thebackfield once again, crash-ing, dashing and bashing his way to 142 yards of real estatein 17 carries and his 64-yardTD gallop. Dixon deliveredfor 76 yards in 13 tries with aTD and the slick Pearson, thesuper-charged B.P. factor athalfback, produced 59 yardsin eight rushing tries in addi-tion to catching the TD passin overtime and also the two-point conversion toss fromProctor.Proctor, showing strong leadership behind center,had 21 yards rushing and 28passing while engineering the sophisticated wing-Tattack of the Chiefs.Proctor prowled the fielddefensively like a predator with a growling belly, making 14 stops from his linebackerpost. McDill was McMurderon the Blue Devils from hisinterior line post, mauling and mashing his way to ninetackles to go along with histwo critical sacks.Jamieson Knolton put theknock on enemy ball carriersnine times and Zack Schley zoomed in for seven tackled.Ginop generated four tackles with a sack. Hudak ham-mered out three stops with afumble recovery. Comps andOrr also recovered fumbles.This Friday, Oct. 12, ishomecoming for the Chiefs when Benzie comes calling.In the words of one promi-nent Chief insider who hasrecently returned to writing her wildly popular weekly Chief reports: “If you haven’tbeen to a game this year,HOMECOMING would be agreat game to see. Comecheck out the new facility and watch the Chiefs (battlevaliantly to try and) make theplayoffs. We will have clothgoods for sale (T-shirts,hooded sweatshirts, hats,shorts, and old jerseys) underthe tent by the concessionstand. If you are a Cheboyganalumni and come to thegame, stop by the tent andget a name tag with yourgraduation year on it. Don’tforget about meeting theChiefs after the game.”The Cheboygan JV team iscurrently undefeated with arecord of 6-0-1. The Chiefstied the Sault last week eventhough the starting halfbacksand safety and cornerback were sidelined with injuries.
Damon ProctorJosh McDillAndrew Dixon
Proctor’s TD pass to Pearson, Ginop’s successful PAT are difference in overtime
Chiefs prevail, push to 5-2 mark