Late TD and two-point conversion win it for Cheboygan
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
A strong effort on defense wasn’t quite enough to overcome mistakes on offense and special teams during Friday night’s varsity football game as the Cheboygan Chiefs defeated the Grayling Vikings 8-6 with a late touchdown followed by a two-point conversion.
The score was 0-0 at halftime. Grayling had five possessions in the first 24 minutes; three ended on downs and two ended with lost fumbles. Cheboygan punted twice, turned the ball over on downs twice, and its fifth drive of the second quarter ended at halftime.
Cheboygan punted on its first series of the third quarter. On 2nd and 13 for Grayling, the Chiefs intercepted a pass attempt by the Vikings. The resulting series for Cheboygan ended with a punt on 4th and 9.
After the kick, Grayling started at its 3-yard line with 3:52 left in the third period. Zack Osga rushed for two yards on 1st and 10. Quarterback Hunter Ventline completed a pass to Drew Kanary for five yards on 2nd and 8. On 3rd and 3, Osga broke free for a 90-yard touchdown run. The Vikings fumbled the snap on the kick attempt for the conversion, and the play failed.
Grayling – with 2:09 remaining in the third quarter – led 6-0.
Cheboygan punted on 4th and 3. The Chiefs got the ball back with an interception. The possession for the Chiefs ended with a punt on 4th and 9.
Later, on 4th and 3 for the Vikings, Grayling attempted a punt, but a fumble on the snap resulted in a turnover on downs.
Cheboygan took over 11 yards from the goal line. Two rushing plays brought up 1st and goal. On the next play, the Chiefs scored on a one-yard TD run, tying the game at 6-6. Cheboygan completed a pass to a receiver in the end zone for the two-point conversion.
With 5:52 remaining in regulation, the Chiefs led 8-6.
After the kickoff, Grayling started at its 31-yard line. On the fourth play of the series – 4th and 10 – the Vikings went for it and gained 20 yards on a pass from Ventline to Kanary. A pass to Parker Dole picked up five yards on 1st and 10. A run by David Millikin, plus a face mask penalty on Cheboygan, brought up 1st and 10 at the 35-yard line of the Chiefs. On the next play, Cheboygan intercepted a Grayling pass attempt.
The Chiefs started at their 30-yard line with 2:34 left in the game. On 1st and 10, Cheboygan got free for a 51-yard run, but Dole caught up to the runner from behind to prevent a TD. Later, on 4th and 8, the Chiefs went for it and the run was short of the first down marker.
Grayling took over on downs at its 13-yard line with 24 seconds left on the clock. A pass to Nick Green gained three yards on 1st and 10. The Vikings lost five yards on a false start penalty. On 2nd and 12, Grayling’s pass attempt fell incomplete. Game over.
The Chiefs won 8-6.
“We lost a tough game to a solid football team. To put it mildly, we did a poor job of taking care of the football and let the elements affect us. The kids played hard and at moments we looked good but just couldn’t sustain offensive drives, which was disappointing,” Coach Eric Tunney said.
“Hats off to our defense. They were put into tough situations and answered the call all night. Cheboygan’s only score came from a drive that started on our 11-yard line,” Coach Tunney said. “In two games, we’ve allowed two touchdowns so that is encouraging. Taking care of the football will be a point of emphasis moving forward.”
Osga finished the game with 173 rushing yards and one TD. Millikin ran for 55 yards. Eli Jackson had 62 receiving yards and Kanary had 43 receiving yards.
On defense, Jackson had 14.5 tackles and Millikin had 10 tackles.
The Vikings (1-1 overall, 0-1 conference) will play their next three games on the road. Grayling plays at Kingsley at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 13. On Friday, September 20, the Vikings play at Boyne City. On Friday, September 27, Grayling will play against Traverse City St. Francis at Thirlby Field.
“We play a talented team in Kingsley (this) week and we have to sustain more offensive drives if we’re going to be successful,” Coach Tunney said.