by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor
One of the great playoff wins in Posen football history had an inauspicious start last Saturday afternoon.
The Vikings’ football team was taking on Kinde North Huron (NH) in their first home playoff game since 2015.
The Warriors needed only three plays and a minute of time to score a touchdown and a two-point conversion to take an early 8-0 lead.
If there was any wake-up call needed for Posen, it came here – and it happened in a big way.
The offense scored 38 unanswered points over the next 26 minutes and the defense kept NH off the scoreboard with a bend-but-not break defense.
NH had the ball inside Posen’s 10 twice and failed to scratch out any points. This would eventually break the Vikings’ playoff opponent, 58-20.
With the win, Posen improved its record to 8-2 and are back home for a Friday night regional-title game with Cedarville.
“(Cedarville) is tough, very physical, they are big, fast strong and well-coached,” said Posen coach Greg Pietsch. “They are a great, eight-man football program.”
It’s a rematch of the regional final from 2015, won by the Trojans in overtime. It was the Vikings’ only loss that season.
Cedarville (6-4) eliminated Hillman from the playoffs in Hillman last week, 44-6. Of Cedarville’s four losses in 2018, only one team did not make the playoffs. The Trojans have won the last three meetings with Posen, including the overtime loss.
“We came out flat, stepped up the intensity, and played with fire the rest of the game,” said Pietsch of the start against NH. “If we can continue to do that, we are going to be a tough team to beat.”
The offense did what it has done all season with long scoring drives. The first came after the Warriors quick score in the first minute.
The Vikings ground it out with a 12-play drive, including a fourth-and-one at the NH 39. Mark Wisniewski busted a run for 21 yards to the 18. Four players later, Sam Brunet was in for his first touchdown of the game. The conversion failed and the score was 8-6.
The Warriors were at Posen’s 11 after only two plays, but the Vikings drew a line in the turf and held tough. NH almost came up with a great touchdown pass on fourth down, but the ball fell incomplete.
The Vikings went back to work on offense, driving 91 yards this time. The key play was a 45-yard run from Brunet to the NH 12. The red and white even overcame a false start penalty.
Quarterback George Kroll’s completion to Jeremy Misiak at the 1, set up a Kroll touchdown run on the very next play. He also ran in the conversion. Posen’s first lead of the game was 14-8 with 10:15 remaining in the first half.
The Warriors used a time-consuming drive from its own 34 to the Posen 1. On third-and-goal, Eyan Hincka and Gage Kaszubowski got to the quarterback for a big loss of 8. NH followed that with a false start penalty and an incomplete pass.
If that did not break the Warriors, the 77-yard touchdown run from Brunet five plays later, did. Kroll plowed in the conversion and the score was 22-8.
NH spun its wheels and went three-and-out. They punted the ball to the Vikings, who had 45 seconds to work with. Big runs by Wisniewski and Brunet got the ball to the NH 12. Wisniewski ran it to the 6, and with 24 seconds left, Kroll found Misiak on a roll-out play for a 6-yard score. Wisniewski ran in the conversion for a 30-8 lead at halftime.
Posen opened the second half with a seven-play drive capped by a 3-yard touchdown run. The conversion was successful and the lead was 38-8. That was the back breaker for a dejected Warrior squad.
Chase Dubie scored from 25 yards out in the fourth to go along with touchdown runs from Wisniewski and Brunet.
“It’s great for our seniors…it’s great for our town and school, most of all,” said Pietsch. “I am proud of everyone who has put in so much work and effort into it.”
Brunet rushed for 251 yards on 14 carries, while Wisniewski had 27 carries and 161 yards. Kroll scored two rushing touchdowns and one passing.
Kyle Kensa was the defensive leader with 15 tackles. Kaszubowski had nine tackles.