by Richard Lamb–Advance Editor
If you like offense, the Hurons provided it. Under perfect playing conditions, the Hurons poured on the offense in a 62-34 win over the Oscoda Owls last Friday at Gilpin Field. Oscoda coughed up the ball six times and the Huron took advantage, running up a 28-0 lead before the visitors scored.
Senior quarterback Caleb Karsten, who passed for 349 yards and six touchdowns, found an open man in the right corner of the south end zone for the first Huron score. That came after the first Oscoda fumble was recovered by Huron defensive lineman Evan Delke at the Oscoda six yard-line.
But the Hurons scored from there the hard way. A 3-yard loss and then two penalties and a sack set up an unlikely third-and-goal from the 42. Tristan Baller’s 25-yard run came before the TD pass from Karsten to a leaping Matt Altman with 5:34 left in the first quarter.
OSCODA USED a quick huddle and an offset line to try to fool the Hurons, but they fumbled away chances. Jacob Hein’s fumble recovery at the Huron 37 set up the next score. Mike Karsten scored on a 9-yard run, after Caleb Karsten and Alex Altman connected on a big 40-pass play up the middle.
Andrew Radke recovered a fumble on the next Owl possession at the Oscoda 36. Three plays later Gavin Veselenak scored the first of his four touchdowns on the day, taking a handoff and following the blocks of offensive linemen Brendan Hart, Zane Grzesikowski and Cory Sweeso, Jr. to the end zone with 8:08 left in the first half.
Caleb Karsten’s pass to Baller made it 22-0, Hurons.
Oscoda fumbled again on its next possession. This time linebacker Kaleb Budnick fell on the ball at the Oscoda 46. Seven plays later Caleb Karsten swung a pass to Baller for a 2-yard score and a 28-0 lead with just under three minutes left in the second quarter. The Hurons were rolling.
THE OWLS managed to score with 1:19 left in the half, set up on a 46-yard run. They scored again on the first drive of the second half, using a strong running attack to cover 68 yards in nine plays in a drive which consumed four minutes of game clock.
That momentum would not last as Veselenak took the ensuing kickoff 85-yards for a score. He caught the ball in the middle of the field, darted to his right, then crossed the field to the left sideline in front of the Oscoda bench, and raced down the sideline for the score. The two-point conversion made it 36-14 with 7:33 left to play in the third quarter.
When Oscoda didn’t fumble, their offense moved the ball. They moved 59-yards in six plays, aided by a 15-yard Huron penalty for a late hit, to make the score 35-20 in this wildly offensive game.
The Huron offensive machine answered with a 69-yard drive. A 15-yard pass to Veselenak came before an 18-yard run by Mike Karsten. On fourth and 11 from the Owls’ 17, Caleb Karsten scrambled left, slid around a heavy rush to his right and found a yelling Veselenak wide open in the right corner of the south end zone for the touchdown. Deuce Tulgetska kicked the point-after for a 43-20 Huron lead with 2:32 left in the third quarter. But the scoring didn’t end there.
Mike Karsten recovered a fumble on the second Oscoda play of the ensuing drive. Two plays later Caleb Karsten hit Baller with a touchdown pass and Tulgetska’s kick made it 50-20 with 1:02 left in the third.
Oscoda returned the kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown and added the extra point to cap a wild third quarter with the Hurons leading 50-28.
ON THE first play of the fourth quarter Veselenak caught a pass from Caleb Karsten and took it down the right sideline for another touchdown, his third of the day. Rogers City led 56-28. Oscoda added a touchdown with 10:45 left in the fourth before the Hurons marched 56 yards in 11 plays to end the scoring.
Matt Altman’s 27-yard reception gave him two touchdowns in as many catches and gave Caleb Karsten six scoring passes on the day. The quarterback hit seven different pass receivers for 349 yards and six touchdowns, with one interception.
Rogers City gave up 265 yards on the ground, but only 40 through the air.
“We worked on defense all week. They still got us on the outside a lot. That is our weakness we have to work on. They were focused all week,” said coach Cory Malocha after the game.
The Hurons overcame 11 penalties for 95 yards, but were not hurt as much as the six fumbles lost by the Owls.
“This is the team that is capable of beating anybody. They have just got to continue to play together like they finally did today. This will give us so much of a boost heading into the Mio game. One game at a time, but they are hungry and they want it,” Malocha said.
Malocha praised the work of the offensive line as the quarterback had more time to throw the ball than in previous contests.
MIO, WHO lost to Oscoda 40-6 in week four, lost to Hillman 30-8 last week. The Thunderbolts’ only win came over Atlanta 34-12 in week three, a team which the Hurons defeated 34-6 in week two. Rogers City defeated Mio 26-8 last year and 27-14 in 2014. Mio had won the previous three meetings between the two schools. Before that, the Hurons defeated Mio 38-18 in a 2001 playoff game.
The game will be broadcast on 99.9 The Wave at 7 p.m. with Karl Grambau, Karl Momrik and Andy Grambau calling the action.
Statistics: Total offense, Rogers City 176 rushing, 349 passing. Oscoda 265 rushing, 40 passing.
Individual passing C. Karsten 19-of-26, 349 yards, 6 TDs, 1 Int.
Rushing: Baller 8/65/0; M. Karsten 11/64/1; Veselenak 6/29/1; Foster 1/14/0; C. Karsten 3/4/0.
Receiving: Veselenak 5/124/2; Baller 6/79/2; A. Altman 3/77/0; M. Altman 2/44/2; M. Karsten 2/9/0; Radtke 1/16/0.
Leading tacklers. Radke, Budnick, Hein, six tackles each. Radke had two fumble recoveries while M. Karsten, Hein, Delke and Budnick each had one.