Vikings win Guardian Game 55-6

Grayling gets to keep Guardian Trophy for another year after winning rivalry contest vs. Kalkaska for the third time
The Guardian Trophy will stay at Grayling High School for another year.
The Grayling Vikings defeated the Kalkaska Blazers 55-6 during Friday night’s Guardian Game, a varsity football rivalry contest hosted by Grayling High School this year. 
This year’s Guardian Game featured a special coin toss, a gathering of former and current members of the United States military at the end zone for the national anthem, and a moment of silence in honor of Kelly Richards. Staff Sergeant Richards, a United States Army Health Care Specialist and a 2005 Grayling High School graduate, passed away in September after a training accident in South Korea.
To start the 2019 Guardian Game, Grayling kicked off to Kalkaska. The drive for the Blazers ended with a punt on 4th and 11.
The Vikings started at Kalkaska’s 44-yard line after the kick. On 3rd and 2, Max Halstead rushed for a 36-yard touchdown. Pali Feri kicked the extra point, and with 8:41 left in the first period, Grayling led 7-0.
The Vikings forced another punt and Grayling took over at its 25-yard line after the kick. Runs by Zack Osga and Halstead picked up a first down. On 2nd and 8, Eli Jackson ran for 28 yards. Rushes by David Millikin, Osga, and Halstead gained enough for another first down. On 1st and goal, Halstead scored on a seven-yard touchdown run. Feri kicked the extra point. With 3:52 left in the first period, Grayling had a 14-0 advantage.
After a punt by Kalkaska on 4th and 16, the Vikings started 48 yards from the goal line. A pass from quarterback Hunter Ventline to Jackson gained eight yards on 1st and 10. A pass from Ventline to Parker Dole picked up a first down. Osga ran for seven yards on the next play. On 2nd and 3, Millikin ran for a 15-yard TD. Feri kicked the extra point, and Grayling – with 11:55 left in the second period – led 21-0.
On 3rd and 7 for Kalkaska, the Blazers fumbled and Dole recovered the ball for Grayling. He returned it to the 12-yard line of Kalkaska.
On 1st and 10 after the takeaway, Grayling scored on 12-yard TD run by Osga. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful due to a fumbled snap. With 8:61 left in the first half, the Vikings led 27-0.
Kalkaska punted on 4th and 2. 
Grayling drove 57 yards on two plays. First, Jackson rushed for 47 yards on 1st and 10. Next, the Vikings finished the series with a 10-yard TD run by Bradley Trosper. After the extra point kick by Feri, Grayling led 34-0.
Kalkaska started at its 15-yard line after the kickoff. On first down, the Blazers scored on an 85-yard touchdown pass. Kalkaska fumbled the snap on the conversion attempt. No good. With 6:34 left in the second quarter, Grayling led 34-6.
Kalkaska kicked the ball deep and Osga returned it all the way for a touchdown. Feri kicked the extra point. With 6:21 remaining in the second period, the Vikings led 41-6.
The Blazers fumbled on 2nd and 7 and Justin Jamison recovered the ball for Grayling 17 yards from the end zone. The Vikings finished the short possession with a 14-yard touchdown run by Halstead. After the extra point kick by Feri, Grayling – with 4:33 left in the first half – led 48-6.
Later, on 3rd and 16 for Kalkaska, Halstead made a leaping interception in the middle of the field for Grayling. 
The Vikings did not score on their last drive of the first half. 
The score at halftime was Grayling 48, Kalkaska 6.
Due to point differential rules, the second half featured a running clock.
The Vikings opened the third quarter with a 53-yard scoring drive. Grayling finished it with a 13-yard TD run by Osga. Feri kicked the extra point. The Vikings, with six minutes left in the third period, led 55-6.
On 1st and 10 for the Blazers, Jamison intercepted a Kalkaska pass attempt. The possession for Grayling ended with an unsuccessful field goal attempt.
Kalkaska drove into Grayling territory with a 12-play drive, but the series ended with an incomplete pass on 4th and 22.
The Vikings killed the final 1:40 and Grayling won 55-6. 
With the victory, the Vikings earned another year of having the Guardian Trophy. The trophy features a bust of a soldier and it stays with the winning school until the next Guardian Game. This year’s game was the third in the history of the rivalry contest; the Vikings have won it every year. Grayling defeated Kalkaska 50-33 in 2017, and the Vikings won 47-6 vs. the Blazers in 2018. This year marked the first time that Grayling High School hosted the Guardian Game.
Friday’s contest vs. Kalkaska also featured homecoming festivities for the Vikings.
“It’s always nice to get a win,” Coach Eric Tunney said. “I was proud of the way our kids played and how they handled the distractions of homecoming week. A big thanks to all of Viking Nation for the great environment and it was great having the veterans and active military members down on the field before the game.”
Osga finished with 75 rushing yards and two TDs. Halstead ran for 70 yards and three TDs. Millikin had 42 rushing yards and one TD. Jackson ran for 81 yards.
“We had a lot of success rushing the ball and our defense shut down their rushing attack. We limited our penalties and turnovers and when you’re able to do those four things usually the result is what you want,” Coach Tunney said. “We have to build on the positives and fix the mistakes as we have Benzie Central next and they always play us tough.”
The Vikings (2-4 overall, 1-4 league) will play at Benzie Central on Friday, October 11, at 7 p.m.
 
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. Kingsley won 67-40 vs. Benzie Central. Traverse City St. Francis edged Boyne City 17-14. Grayling defeated Kalkaska 55-6.
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
Kingsley.............................4-0 (6-0)
St. Francis..........................3-1 (4-2)
Cheboygan.........................3-1 (3-3)
Boyne City.........................2-1 (2-4)
Benzie Central...................1-3 (2-4)
Grayling..............................1-4 (2-4)
Kalkaska............................0-4 (0-6)
 
Last week’s scores:
Kingsley 67, Benzie Central 40
TC St. Francis 17, Boyne City 14
Grayling 55, Kalkaska 6
Ogemaw Heights 36, Cheboygan 6
 
Legacy Division
Team, League, Overall
Harbor Springs..................3-0 (5-1)
Joburg-Lewiston..............2-0 (6-0)
St. Ignace...........................2-2 (3-3)
East Jordan.........................1-3 (1-4)
Inland Lakes.....................0-3 (0-6)
 
Last week’s scores:
Joburg-Lewiston 22, Charlevoix 6
St. Ignace 32, East Jordan 12
Harbor Springs 17, SSM Korah 5
Morenci 50, Inland Lakes 7
 
Leaders Division
Team, League, Overall
Glen Lake..........................3-0 (6-0)
Charlevoix.........................2-0 (4-2)
Mancelona.........................2-1 (4-2)
Elk Rapids..........................0-3 (2-4)
Frankfort............................0-3 (2-4)
 
Last week’s scores:
Joburg-Lewiston 22, Charlevoix 6
Mancelona 36, Frankfort 18
Glen Lake 59, Elk Rapids 7

 

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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