Vikings score on offense, defense, and special teams during 36-8 win vs. Boyne City
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Boyne City scored first, but it was Grayling that scored second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh. The varsity Vikings – during Friday night’s Northern Michigan Football Conference Legends Division game – defeated the visiting Ramblers by a final score of 36-8, outscoring Boyne City 36-0 during the last 42:47 of regulation.
The first series of the game ended with a punt by the Ramblers on 4th and 11.
On 2nd and 12 for Grayling, the Ramblers intercepted a pass attempt by the Vikings, giving Boyne City the ball 21 yards from the goal line. The Ramblers finished the series with a two-yard touchdown pass on 4th and goal. With the two-point conversion – successful on a rushing play – Boyne City led 8-0 with 5:13 left in the first quarter.
Grayling responded with a scoring drive. The Vikings started at their 43-yard line after the kickoff. Runs by quarterback Eli Jackson and running back Zack Osga picked up enough for a first down. Runs by Jackson and Osga gained 10 more yards. Osga rushed for 15 yards on the next play. Jackson ran for a five-yard gain. Osga rushed for nine yards on 2nd and 5. On 1st and goal, Logan Joseph rushed for a five-yard TD. The rushing play for the two-point conversion did not get the ball into the end zone.
With 2:10 left in the first period, Grayling trailed 8-6.
On 2nd and 1 – the second play of Boyne City’s next series – the Ramblers fumbled the ball and Joseph recovered it.
Grayling started at Boyne City’s 38-yard line. A running play that lost two yards and three consecutive incomplete passes ended the drive on downs.
On 2nd and 10 for the Ramblers, Justin Youngblood intercepted a Boyne City pass attempt near midfield. On the second play of the possession, Jackson threw deep to Nick Hunter for a touchdown. Jackson completed a pass to Jacob Farmer for the two-point conversion.
With 11:27 left in the first half, Graying led 14-8.
The next three drives – two for Boyne City, one for Grayling – ended with punts.
The Vikings started at Boyne City’s 33-yard line after a short punt. On 3rd and 22 – after a penalty and a sack lost yardage for Grayling – Hunter caught a pass for a 23-yard gain. On the next play, Jackson completed a short pass to Osga, who got free down the sideline for a 22-yard TD. Joseph rushed for the two-point conversion.
Grayling, with 2:17 left in the half, led 22-8.
The Vikings started 39 yards from the goal line after a Boyne City punt. Jackson completed a pass to Hunter for 29 yards on 1st and 10. Two penalties moved Grayling back. Later, on 4th and goal from the 29-yard line, Grayling fumbled and recovered the ball short of the first down marker.
Boyne City took over and killed the final 1.9 seconds of the first half.
After 24 minutes of regulation, the Vikings led 22-8.
The Ramblers kicked the ball to Grayling to start the second half. After losing yards on a penalty and a sack, Ken Dutton caught a pass for 26 yards on 3rd and 20. On 3rd and 6, Osga caught a pass for 16 yards. A sack lost yardage. The series ended with a punt on 4th and 17. The kick went out of bounds at the 4-yard line, giving Boyne City the ball near its own goal line. On 1st and 10, the Ramblers fumbled the snap and recovered the loose ball in the end zone, resulting in a safety (two points and possession of the ball for the other team).
Grayling led 24-8 with 7:43 left in the third quarter.
Boyne City kicked off to Grayling. The Vikings finished a five-play 52-yard drive with a 25-yard touchdown run by Osga. The Ramblers blocked Grayling’s extra point kick attempt. The Vikings led 30-8.
Boyne City went for it on 4th and 14 and the play ended with a quarterback sack by Grayling. The Vikings punted on 4th and 23 after losing yardage to penalties.
The Ramblers punted on 4th and 1. It looked like the ball would be downed by Boyne City, but Hunter picked up the football, weaved through traffic, and ran it all the way to the end zone for a TD. Boyne City blocked the extra point kick.
The Vikings led 36-8 with 11:12 left in the game.
Neither team scored down the stretch, and Grayling won by a final score of 36-8.
Jackson had 162 passing yards with two TDs. Osga ran for 51 yards and one TD and had 41 receiving yards with one TD. Joseph rushed for 26 yards and one TD. Hunter had 97 receiving yards and one TD.
On defense, Joseph had seven tackles, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Parker Dole had eight tackles. TJ Hart had seven tackles. Youngblood had six tackles and one interception. Jackson had eight tackles.
“It was a great team win and we had several guys make solid contributions. The defense played tough all night and provided a lot of pressure on their QB,” Coach Eric Tunney said. “Another area where I felt made a big difference was in special teams. Downing two punts inside the 5-yard line put a lot of pressure on their offense and for the second straight week put us in position to get a safety.”
“We also had a wild punt return by Nick Hunter. He said he noticed they weren’t paying attention and he just picked it up and made a play. I was getting ready for the next offensive series and heard the crowd erupt and then I looked up and saw him heading towards the end zone. Anytime he touches the ball, there’s a chance he’s finding the end zone,” Coach Tunney said.
“Offensively we moved the ball well at times and are continually improving in many areas,” Coach Tunney said. “(This) week we will be tested in all phases of the game. (Traverse City St. Francis) is a talented and disciplined team and they have been rolling this year. It will be a great challenge for us and I can’t wait to watch our guys get after it again.”
The Vikings (2-2 overall, 2-1 league) will host the Gladiators of Traverse City St. Francis (4-0 overall, 2-0 league) at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 21.