The Onaway High School football team fell to 2-6 on the season Friday when it lost to visiting Central Lake, 39-13. The Trojans kept their playoff hopes alive by improving to 4-4.
Central Lake accumulated 463 net yards of offense on 73 plays – 71 of them running plays, while the Cardinals accumulated 185 net yards on 48 plays. The Trojans controlled the clock, and the game, with their ground attack.
Penalties were again a problem for the Cardinals, who committed 13 of them for 143 yards in the contest. Onaway committed 10 penalties, five of them personal fouls, for 124 yards in the second half alone.
“I keep telling the guys you cannot give away 100-plus yards per game in penalties and think you are going to win,” said coach Jim Cleaver. “We are focusing on a strong final week of practice and a win over Pickford.”
The Cardinals will travel to the U.P. tonight (Friday) to play the Panthers, who are 5-3 and will clinch a postseason berth with a victory over Onaway. Cleaver hopes his team can play spoiler.
To do so, Onaway will have to eliminate the penalties and do a better job against the run than it did against the Trojans, who averaged 5.7 yards per rush in last week’s contest.
The three-headed monster of William Brockman (19 carries, 163 yards, 3 TDs), George Thayer (20 carries, 125 yards, 3 TDs), and Luke Seaney (19 carries, 78 yards) did most of the damage.
Brockman scored from five yards out on the Trojans’ opening possession, capping a 65-yard drive. The conversion attempt failed but CL led 6-0 with 9:18 left in quarter one.
After an OHS punt, Thayer capped an 86-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown run of his own. Again, the conversion attempt failed, but CL led 12-0 with 1:01 left in the opening stanza.
The teams then traded possessions before Brockman capped a 76-yard drive with a six-yard TD run. Thayer ran in the two-point conversion, and the Trojans led 20-0 with 49 seconds left in the first half.
After Onaway punted to open the third quarter, Thayer completed a 47-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run. The extra point attempt failed, but Central Lake led 26-0 with 8:05 left in the third.
The Cards got on the board on their next possession, as a 36-yard pass from Matt Tollini to Chris Cleaver, and a 15-yard run by Tommy Auger, set up Noah Bacon’s one-yard TD run.
Carlos Bautista added the PAT and OHS trailed 26-7 with 4:27 left in quarter three. Onaway then stopped Central Lake on downs, and again drove down the field, but the drive stalled at the Trojan 17.
Brockman would complete an 83-yard CL drive with a 13-yard touchdown run, stretching the lead to 32-7 with 8:18 left in the game. Though the PAT failed, the TD sealed the win for the Trojans.
Thayer added one final touchdown for the visiting team, sprinting in from 20 yards out with 4:57 left. The point after attempt was successful, putting Central Lake up 39-7.
Onaway wrapped up the scoring when Tollini connected with Isaac Nave on a three-yard touchdown pass with 3:21 remaining. The extra point attempt was no good, and the Cards’ onside kick attempt was unsuccessful.
Tollini completed 6-of-17 passes for 86 yards and a TD, while running the ball eight times for 90 yards. Auger ran the ball 10 times for 70 yards and had a catch for 10 more. Chris Cleaver had two catches for 47 yards.
Tollini led the defense with 22 tackles. Bautista had 16 tackles, Chris Cleaver had 11, Joe O’Bradovich and Joe Sigsby had 10 each, and Bacon had nine and a fumble recovery.
Auger had eight tackles, Frankie Ramos had seven, and Sterling Olmsted had six. Of the nine leading tacklers, all but Sigsby were seniors. That group will play their final game tonight at Pickford, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.