by Richard Lamb–Advance Editor
The football Hurons (1-3) will travel to Oscoda looking to get back into the win column. The Owls (3-1) will be shooting to avenge a 62-34 loss last season in Rogers City. Oscoda finished the 2016 campaign at 4-5 after earning a playoff berth in 2015, the school’s only winning season since 2000.
The Hurons and Owls tangled nine times in the 1950s and 1960s, with Oscoda coming out on top eight times between 1956 and 1965. Then the teams didn’t hook up again until the 2007 season. Since the rebirth of the series in 2007 the teams have met eight times with the each team winning four times.
The Owls defeated East Jordan 40-6 in week one before losing to AuGres 44-41. They defeated Whittemore-Prescott 41-8 in week three before blowing out Mio 52-6 last week.
LAST WEEK, in potentially the final meeting as 11-man football squads, the Hillman Tigers took a 32-20 win over Rogers City. Hillman rushed 45 times for 340 yards and had 37 yards in the air. Hillman is going to eight-man football next season.
Hillman got on the scoreboard first, capping an 11-play drive that covered 93 yards and took nearly five minutes off the game clock. Quarterback Kyler Moir appeared to be trapped for a sack but the lefthander rolled to his left and scrambled 12 yards for the score. The two-point conversion made it 8-0 Hillman as time expired in the first quarter.
The Hurons responded with a 54-yard drive highlighted by a 20-yard run from Kaleb Budnick and a 28-yarder from Mike Karsten. A one-yard run from Karsten with 10:29 left in the first half made it 8-6, Hillman.
Hillman came right back with a 65-yard drive, highlighted by a 28-yard pass from Moir to Mathew Hunt. Two plays later the Tigers extended the lead to 14-6.
The second half started with Hillman taking an interception all the way for a touchdown to lead 20-6 with 10:23 left in the third quarter.
“There is a lot of heart and fight in these young kids. We have only four seniors and a lot of sophomores and freshmen. So we are going to be real strong next year, but I’m not counting this year out, yet, either,” said head coach Cory Malocha. “They have a lot of fight in them. I’m really proud of them.”
Rogers City ran 16 offensive plays to just four for Hillman in the third quarter, but could manage no scores.
Following a Tiger fumble recovered by Huron linebacker Lewis Fleming at the Huron 45, Rogers City mounted a scoring drive.
A 25-yard pass from Caleb Bade to Ethan Hincka and a 27-yard run from Karsten were the big plays in the drive. Karsten capped the effort with a 5-yard run, and added the two-point conversion to make the score 20-14.
Again Hillman responded, driving 40 yards on mostly straight-ahead plays, scoring on a 1-yard run with 5:01 left in the third.
A 16-yard pass from Bade to Hincka and a pass interference call put the ball on the Tigers’ 22. Coach Malocha pulled out a trick play, reversing the ball for a Budnick 15-yard run. Two plays later, after a penalty and a loss, a 15-yard pass from Bade to Budnick make the score 26-20 with 2:27 left in the fourth quarter.
“We knew that would be open,” Malocha said of the touchdown pass. “It is a scissors pass, we call it, with the running back going in motion. Their linebacker won’t pick up the motion back usually and it was wide open.”
But as they had for the entire game, Hillman responded. This time they moved 57 yards on five running plays to make the final score 32-20.
Friday’s game at Oscoda will be broadcast on 99.9 The Wave beginning with the pregame show at 6:45 p.m. Karl Grambau, Karl Momrik and Andy Grambau will call the action.
Total offense: Rogers City, 238 rushing, 68 passing, 306 total. Hillman, 340 rushing, 37 passing, 377 total.
Passing: Bade 5-of-11, 68 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT.
Rushing: Karsten 15 attempts, 112 yards, 2 TD; Budnick 13/90/0; L. Fleming 6/27/0.
Receiving: Hincka 3/41/0; Budnick 3/27/1.
Defensive leaders: Hincka 9 tackles, Budnick 9 tackles, Sweeso 7 tackles. L. Fleming fumble recovery, Bredow quarterback sack.