By Paul Peterson - For the Gazette
POSTED: September 12, 2009
L'ANSE - Don't look now, but the Ontonagon High football team is halfway to gaining a postseason spot in the playoffs.
The Gladiators moved their record to 3-0 on the young season with a 44-22 throttling of L'Anse Friday night in nonconference action.
Ontonagon's new single wing offense moved at will on a warm evening at Meadowbrook Field - piling up 339 yards rushing and another 106 through the air.
"We couldn't stop them," L'Anse skipper Mark Leaf said afterward. "They run that Single Wing offense very well ... and they have some dangerous weapons on offense."
Senior tailback Mike Schmaus did most of the damage for the Gladiators, scoring three times and accounting for 145 rushing yards. He also accounted for most of his team's passing yardage
"He (Schmaus) is the ideal back to have in our offense. He's a U.P. dash champion and he can get to the outside real quickly," said OAHS first-year coach Dave Linczeski. "He's also throwing the ball very well."
Schmaus marched his team 66 yards on the opening drive of the game, mixing his own runs with hand-offs to quick tailbacks T.J. Huotari and Nick Soumis.
Schmaus tallied on a three-yard run and also tacked on the two-point conversion with a run for an 8-0 score.
That swelled to 16-0 later in the quarter as Schmaus ran 10 yards to pay dirt and passed to Soumis for the two-pointer.
The Hornets bounced back with a nice scoring drive of their own in the second frame. Tailback Parker Miller capped the drive with a 5-yard run and also added the two-pointer for a 16-8 reading.
Ontonagon, looking for its first winning season since 1996, answered back before the half ended on an 11-yard run by Huotari. Soumis ran in the two-pointer for a 24-8 halftime score.
The Purple Gang marched to the Ontonagon 31 early in the third quarter before running out of downs.
The Glads then embarked on a 17-play, 69-yard drive and ate up nearly nine minutes of the clock to erase any doubts about the outcome. Huotari covered the final yard and when Schmaus passed to Cameron Menigoz, it was 32-8.
Schmaus added a 19-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter to up the count to 38-8.
Miller scored on a ten-yard run for the Hornets not long after that to make it 38-14, but a 47-yard TD scamper from Dylan Kirkley of OAHS nullified that.
Dennis Anderson caught a 61-yard scoring pass from Jake Jaeger late in the contest and the two hooked up on the two-point PAT for the final points.
Leaf said he was encouraged by Jaeger's 10-of-13 passing performance for 143 yards.
"We'll need that kind of passing to open up the running game," he pointed out. "It was one of the encouraging things tonight."
Ontonagon travels to Crystal Falls to face rugged Forest Park next Friday for a Great Western Conference game.
"The kids are excited about the challenge of playing a team like (the Trojans)," Linczeski said.
L'Anse, now 1-2, goes to Hancock next Saturday for a WestPAC meeting.
Rushing: Ontonagon 45-339 (Schmaus 18-145, Soumis 6-78, Kirkley 3-54, Huotari 14-38; L'Anse 25-154 (Miller 9-84, Anderson 13-63
Passing: Ontonagon, Schmaus 3-6-0-88; L'Anse 10-13-143
Receiving: Ontonagon, Menigoz 2-87; L'Anse Anderson 4-72
The Daily Mining Gazette
P.O. Box 368
Houghton, MI 49931