TD on 4th and 5 late in the game wins it for Benzie Central

It was 4th and 5 with 1:02 left in the game. Twenty-five yards from the end zone. Grayling had a two-point lead, 36-34. Benzie Central – the visiting team – snapped the ball and threw deep to a double-covered receiver. The receiver made the catch near the goal line. Touchdown. The Vikings had one more chance, but the possession ended with an interception. Benzie Central, after a back and forth varsity football game on Friday night, defeated the Grayling Vikings by a final score of 42-36.
Both squads had a 3-3 overall record going into the contest, so both teams needed a win in order to still have a chance for an automatic playoff berth.
Grayling received the game’s opening kickoff. On the fourth play of the drive – 4th and 1 – the Vikings went for it and came up short. Benzie Central took over 46 yards from the end zone.
The Huskies drove 46 yards on seven plays, scoring on a two-yard TD run on 2nd and goal. They completed a pass for the two-point conversion.
With 6:19 left in the first period, Benzie Central led 8-0.
The next two possessions – one by each team – ended with punts.
Grayling started at its 38-yard line. Running back Zack Osga rushed for 12 yards on 1st and 10. Later, on 4th and 4, a roughing the passer penalty on Benzie Central gave the Vikings a first down. On 3rd and 7, a pass from Eli Jackson to Logan Joseph gained 23 yards. Grayling lost yardage on 1st and goal and 2nd and goal. On 3rd and goal, Nick Hunter caught a pass in the end zone, but a holding penalty nullified the play. Hunter rushed for 11 yards on 3rd and goal, bringing up 4th and goal from the 13-yard line. Jackson threw to Joseph for a 13-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt failed.
The Huskies, with 9:07 left in the second quarter, led 8-6.
Benzie Central returned Grayling’s kickoff to the 17-yard line of the Vikings. The Huskies rushed for 10 yards on 1st and 10. They finished the drive with a three-yard run on 2nd and goal. With the two-point conversion, Benzie Central led 16-6 with 7:21 left in the first half.
Grayling punted on 4th and 6. The kick went out of bounds at Benzie Central’s 37-yard line. On 3rd and 7 – the fifth play of the drive – Hunter intercepted a pass attempt by the Huskies, giving Grayling the ball at its 1-yard line.
Runs by Jackson and Joseph picked up enough for a first down. Ken Dutton caught a pass for 13 yards. Later, on 4th and 10, Benzie Central pressured Grayling’s punt attempt. The punter ran with the ball but came up short of gaining enough for a first down. The Huskies took over on downs 35 yards from the goal line with 1:37 left in the second period.
On the second play of the series, Benzie Central threw deep for a 35-yard touchdown. Justin Youngblood intercepted the pass attempt for Grayling on the two-point conversion attempt.
With 49 seconds left in the half, the Huskies had a 22-6 advantage.
After a short line drive kick, Grayling started at its 49-yard line. On 1st and 10, Benzie Central intercepted a Grayling pass attempt.
The Huskies ran two plays, ending the first half. Benzie Central led 22-6 after two quarters of play.
To start the second half, Benzie Central returned the kickoff all the way for a touchdown, but a penalty negated the play. On 2nd and 1 – the fifth play of the drive – Hunter intercepted a pass attempt by the Huskies.
The Vikings started at their 24-yard line after the takeaway. A pass to Dutton and a run by Jackson gained 13 yards and a first down. A run by Joseph and a personal foul penalty on Benzie Central brought up 1st and 10 from the 42-yard line of the Huskies. A personal foul penalty (targeting) on Benzie Central gave the Vikings another first down. Later, on 3rd and 4, Jackson ran the ball into the end zone for an eight-yard TD. Jackson ran the ball across the goal line for the two-point conversion.
With 6:37 left in the third period, Benzie Central had a 22-14 lead.
Grayling tried an on-side kick. The Huskies recovered the ball and the officials called targeting on the Vikings during the play, giving Benzie Central the ball 40 yards from the goal line. The drive ended on downs at the 32-yard line. The resulting possession for Grayling ended with a punt.
On 2nd and 11, Benzie Central fumbled and Miguel Quinones recovered the ball for Grayling.
The Vikings started 10 yards from the goal line. On 1st and 10, Osga rushed for six yards. On the next play, Joseph ran for a four-yard TD. The two-point conversion attempt was not successful.
With 26 seconds left in the third period, Grayling trailed by two, 22-20.
Benzie Central responded with a 48-yard scoring drive, finishing the series with a five-yard TD pass on 3rd and goal. Hunter deflected the pass attempt on the two-point conversion attempt. With 9:58 left in regulation, the Huskies led 28-20.
Grayling started at its 19-yard line after the kickoff. On 1st and 10, Joseph – from the quarterback spot – got free for an 81-yard touchdown run. Hunter caught a pass for the two-point conversion, tying the game at 28-28 with 9:42 left in the fourth quarter.
Benzie Central drove 65 yards on six plays, scoring on a three-yard TD run on 2nd and goal. Grayling stopped the ball carrier short of the goal line on the two-point conversion attempt.
With 7:32 left in the game, the Huskies led 34-28.
The kickoff return, plus a personal foul penalty on Benzie Central, put Grayling at the 44-yard line of the Huskies. Joseph rushed for 13 yards on first down. A run by Joseph, plus a face mask penalty on Benzie Central, brought up 1st and 10 at the 14-yard line. Later, on 4th and 9, Joseph scrambled, ran to the outside, and dove for the pylon. Touchdown. Joseph ran the ball into the end zone for the two-point conversion.
With 5:45 left in the contest, Grayling led 36-34.
The Vikings kicked the ball short into open space near the sideline, and Grayling recovered it, giving the Vikings possession 27 yards from the end zone. The drive went backwards, ending on fourth down with a penalty for intentional grounding.
Benzie Central, down by two points, started at its 41-yard line. On first down, the Huskies gained 29 yards on a reverse. Two rushing plays gained five yards. On 3rd and 5, Benzie Central fumbled, picked up the loose ball, and ran with it, getting back to the original line of scrimmage. On 4th and 5, the Huskies threw deep and the receiver made a play, catching the ball over two Grayling defenders and scoring a touchdown. Benzie Central ran the ball for the two-point conversion. 
With 1:01 left in regulation, the Huskies had a 42-36 lead.
After a penalty and an incomplete pass, on 2nd and 15, Grayling threw deep and Benzie Central intercepted the pass attempt. The Huskies killed the final 38 seconds, and Benzie Central won by a final score of 42-36.
“We knew Benzie was going to challenge us and they did just that. We knew they had some playmakers and we didn’t do a good job of containing them.  Offensively we did not block well and defensively we did not tackle very well, especially in the first half,” Coach Eric Tunney said. “The kids played hard and fought (themselves) out of a hole. I’m proud of the way our kids just keep fighting and have a no quit attitude. We just have to start out faster and not wait until we’re down or halftime before we kick it in to gear.”
On offense for Grayling, Joseph had 167 rushing yards, 64 receiving yards, and four total TDs. Jackson threw for 90 yards, rushed for 25 yards, and had two total TDs.
On defense, Hunter had two interceptions. Quinones forced a fumble and recovered a fumble. Parker Dole had 7.5 tackles. TJ Hart had seven tackles. Youngblood had 6.5 tackles. Jackson had six tackles.
The Vikings (3-4 overall, 3-3 league) will play at West Branch Ogemaw Heights at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 12.
“We have Ogemaw Heights (this) week.  Their record is not very good, but on film they have some big kids and play hard so we will be tested once again,” Coach Tunney said.
 
Northern Michigan Football Conference
The Northern Michigan Football Conference – Grayling’s athletic league for football – has three tiers. Grayling is in the division called “Legends,” according to the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s online Score Center. The Legends Division, also known as the large school division of the conference, includes Grayling, Kalkaska, Benzie Central, Boyne City, Cheboygan, Traverse City St. Francis, and Kingsley.
For the Legends Division, last week featured three conference games. 
Traverse City St. Francis defeated Cheboygan 49-8. Benzie Central edged Grayling 42-36. Boyne City won 35-0 vs. Kalkaska.
Last week’s scores and current standings for all three tiers of the Northern Michigan Football Conference, courtesy of the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Score Center, are listed below.
 
Legends Division
Team, League, Overall
St. Francis .....................5-0 (7-0)
Kingsley..........................3-1 (6-1)
Cheboygan.....................3-2 (4-3)
Grayling..........................3-3 (3-4)
Benzie Central...............2-3 (4-3)
Boyne City .....................1-3 (3-4)
Kalkaska........................0-5 (0-7)
 
Last week’s scores:
Boyne City 35, Kalkaska 0
Benzie Central 42, Grayling 36
St. Francis 49, Cheboygan 8
Kingsley 56, Glen Lake 22
 
Legacy Division
Team, League, Overall
Joburg-Lewiston.............4-0 (6-1)
Harbor Springs...............5-1 (6-1)
St. Ignace.......................3-2 (4-3)
Newberry........................2-2 (2-5)
Gaylord St. Mary............2-3 (2-4)
East Jordan....................1-4 (1-6)
Inland Lakes...................0-5 (0-7)
 
Last week’s scores:
St. Ignace 42, Inland Lakes 10
St. Mary 41, East Jordan 13
Joburg-Lewiston 18, H. Springs 15
Bark River-Harris 29, Newberry 22
 
Leaders Division
Team, League, Overall
Glen Lake.......................3-0 (3-4)
Elk Rapids......................3-1 (5-2)
Frankfort.........................2-2 (4-3)
Mancelona.....................1-3 (2-5)
Charlevoix......................0-3 (2-5)
 
Last week’s scores:
Elk Rapids 31, Frankfort 21
Mancelona 20, Charlevoix 15
Kingsley 56, Glen Lake 22
 
 

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806
E-Mail: information@crawfordcountyavalanche.com

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