Unstoppable: Maroons rout Esky
By Tom Kaeser - Marinette Eagle Herald
MENOMINEE — Menominee’s non-stop playoff express rumbled to its 20th straight win Friday night over a game Escanaba team.
The Maroons shook off a crisp Eskymo running game and second-quarter scare with a barrage of big plays in a 53-14 Parents Night romp at Walton Blesch Field.
“It was a good awakener for us,” Menominee coach Ken Hofer said. “It lets us know adverse things happen. The thing I’m most proud of is the way we were able to come back.”
After Trevor Powell stuffed a punt on Esky’s first possession, Ethan Shaver torched the Eskymos for scoring dashes of 13 and 34 yards. Matt Eisenzoph picked off a pass and raced 27 yards to the 1. Eisenzoph powered over from there to give the Maroons a 21-0 lead before Escanaba lashed back with 14 unaswered points.
Hammering the rugged Maroon defense up the middle and connecting on short passes, the Eskymos reached paydirt on a seven-play, 68-yard drive. Jordan LeMire completed 14-yard strikes to Mitch Van Effen and Mark Viau, and Paul Theoret tore the gut of the Maroon defense for a 27-yard touchdown with 8:58 left in the half.
Sparked by a 29-yard gallop by Shaver, the Maroons drove down to the 11, when Mitch Van Effen plucked a fumble in mid-air and raced 91 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. LeMire’s conversion pass to LeBeau suddenly cut the lead to 21-14 with 6:49 left in the half.
“They scared me,” Hofer said. “We started playing defense when it was 21-14. I don’t know what the problem was. Maybe it was Escanaba’s blocking.”
Van Effen’s dramatic TD jaunt was the last spark for the Eskymo offense. After gaining 131 yards on the ground in the first half, Esky clawed out just 11 yards after intermission.
“I thought we played pretty good the first half,” said Escanaba coach Dan Flynn. “It was two distinct and different halves. I thought we were more intense and focused in the first half.”
Escanaba’s comeback fire was doused when Shaver hit Joe Klitzke with a pass at the Esky 45 and the senior receiver outran the Eskymos for a 67-yard touchdown. Cody Woods’ kick pumped the Maroons to 28-14.
Menominee started its next drive at its own 48 and Shaver zig-zagged his way to a 34-yard run. Eisenzoph followed a convoy of blockers around the left corner for a 16-yard scoring run to hike the margin to 34-14.
With the Eskymos still reeling from the 14-point blitz, David Oczus picked off a LeMire pass on Esky’s next play and returned it to the 14. After a face mask penalty moved the ball to the 5, Austin Fernstrum sliced in from there to give Menominee a 40-14 halftime lead.
Shaver burned the Eskymos for 165 yards on just 10 carries, all in the first half. He also completed four of five passes for 123 yards.
“They block well for him and he’s a helluva running back,” said Flynn. “Their short drives got to us.”
The reserves took over for Menominee in the third period. Brian Boye closed out the Maroons’ first drive of the second half with an 8-yard run.
The Maroons put together a crisp 11-play, 71 drive on their second series of the half. Bryan Colvin connected with Justin Salzman for a 19-yard completion. Andrew Schewe snared a 9-yard pass from Colvin and Schewe cut through a huge hole for a 21-yard scoring scamper with 1:53 left in the third period.
“I’ m proud of the way our reserves came in and played very well,” said Hofer.
The Maroons had the ball at the Esky 1, but Hofer had his team take a knee as the game ended.
Theoret led Escanaba (1-5) with 76 yards on 16 carries. “He’s as tough as hell,” said Hofer.
Escanaba 0 14 0 0 — 14
Menominee 14 26 13 0 — 53
M — Shaver 13 run. Pass failed.
M — Shaver 34 run. McMahon pass from Shaver.
M — Eisenzoph 1 run. Woods kick
E — Theoret 27 run. Run failed
E — Van Effen 91 fumble return. LeBeau pass from LeMire
M — Eisenzoph 16 run. Kick failed
M — Fernstrum 5 run. Kick failed.
M — Boye 8 run. Woods kick
Rushing: Menominee 49-312 (Shaver 11-172) Escanaba: 29-139 (Theoret 11-76). Passing: Menominee 8-9-171 (Shaver 4-5 127; Colvin 4-4 45) Escanaba (LeMire 5-4-14-35. Receiving: (Klitzke 4-131). Escanaba (Van Effen 2-20). Fumbles/lost: Menominee: 4/2. Escanaba 0-0. Intercepted by Menominee 3. Intercepted by Escanaba 0. Penalties M - 1-5. Escanaba 5-34. First downs: M 17, Escanaba 7