Vikings win 43-0 at Kalkaska in 2020 season opener

Varsity football squad builds 36-0 lead in the first half during victory vs. Blazers on Friday night
Grayling High School’s varsity football team returned to competition with a 43-0 victory vs. the Kalkaska Blazers on Friday night at Kalkaska High School.
The Vikings kicked off to the Blazers to start the contest. On the seventh play of the series, Kalkaska fumbled the ball and Spartacus Berry-Skillern recovered it for Grayling.
The Vikings started at their 33-yard after the takeaway. On the second play of the drive – 2nd and 9 – David Millikin rushed for a 66-yard touchdown. Anthony Harrington kicked the extra point.
With 6:44 left in the first period, Grayling led 7-0.
Kalkaska started at its 23-yard line after the kickoff return. Three rushing plays brought up 4th and 2 at Kalkaska’s 31-yard line. The Blazers went for it and the Vikings stopped the rushing play short of the first down marker. Grayling took over 29 yards from the goal line.
Quarterback Hunter Ventline ran for four yards on first down. Ventline threw to Dylan Cragg for a gain of 12 yards. Anthony Fisher rushed for three yards. On 2nd and 7, Millikin ran the ball into the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown. Harrington kicked the extra point. The Vikings, with 2:31 left in the first period, had a 14-0 advantage.
Kalkaska punted on 4th and 16. Grayling took over at its 40-yard line. On 2nd and 10, the Vikings picked up 43 yards on a pass from Ventline to Fisher. Kalkaska intercepted a Grayling pass attempt on the next play.
On the first play of the resulting series – 1st and 10 from Kalkaska’s 15-yard line – the Blazers fumbled and Jordan Wakeley recovered the ball for Grayling seven yards from the end zone. On 1st and 10, Millikin ran for a seven-yard TD. After the extra point kick by Harrington, the Vikings – with 11:10 left in the second quarter – led 21-0.
Kalkaska drove from its 33-yard line to Grayling’s 14-yard line. A penalty nullified a Kalkaska touchdown. Later in the drive, the Blazers went for it on 4th and 19 and Tayvion Hall deflected Kalkaska’s pass attempt, forcing a turnover on downs.
Grayling started at its 24-yard line with 7:15 left in the second period. Millikin rushed for nine yards on 1st and 10. A pass to Fisher gained five yards. Ventline rushed for 17 yards on the next play. On 1st and 10, Ventline threw short to Millikin, who got free for a 45-yard TD. Harrington kicked the extra point. With 5:01 left before halftime, the Vikings led 28-0.
On 4th and 13 – the fifth play of the series – Kalkaska went for it, and Marcus Chard deflected the pass attempt for the Vikings. Grayling took over on downs at its 47-yard line.
Millikin rushed for three yards. On 3rd and 7, Ventline completed a deep pass to Cragg for a gain of 32 yards. Hall rushed for seven yards. On 3rd and 3, Ventline threw to Drew Kanary for a four-yard touchdown. After a fumbled snap on the kick attempt, Millikin picked up the ball and ran for two points on the conversion.
Grayling, with 16 seconds left in the second quarter, led 36-0.
After the kickoff, the Blazers ran one play, ending the half. The Vikings led 36-0.
The second half featured a running clock due to point differential rules.
Kalkaska’s first series of the second half ended on downs with an incomplete pass on 4th and 18.
Grayling drove 61 yards on five plays, ending the series with a 16-yard TD run by Fisher. Harrington kicked the extra point. The Vikings led 43-0.
The Blazers punted on 4th and 15. Grayling killed more than eight minutes of clock time with runs by Reid Cvitkovich, Jake Huspen, Ventline, and Derek Long.
The Vikings knelt on fourth down, ending the game.
The Vikings won 43-0.
“It was a great first game for us and it was a great feeling being back out there watching the boys get after it. Walking out, hearing the cleats clacking on the cement, and going through pregame warmups really brought us back to some sense of normalcy,” Coach Eric Tunney said.
“I thought we came out playing fast and got after them early. We had success up front, which allowed the running game some holes and gave the QB some time. A lot of guys got involved, which is always good. It was weird going into a game without a scout or really an idea of what the other team was going to give us but I thought the kids adapted well,” Coach Tunney said. 
According to the team, Ventline finished with 161 passing yards and two TDs. Millikin rushed for 119 yards and three TDs. Fisher rushed for 25 yards and one TD. Cragg had three catches for 54 yards. Millikin and Kanary each had one TD reception.
On defense, Kanary had 9 tackles (4 for loss). Millikin had 9 tackles (3 for loss). Logan Collett had 6 tackles. Wakeley and Berry-Skillern each had one fumble recovery for the Vikings.
“Hopefully our guys got some confidence but we still have a lot of things to work on. I think Kalkaska is still trying to figure some things out and I know next week vs. (Traverse City St. Francis) things will be much more challenging,” Coach Tunney said. 
The Vikings (1-0 overall, 0-0 league) will host Traverse City St. Francis at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 25. 
On Friday, October 2, Grayling will host Benzie Central at 7 p.m. The game will include limited homecoming festivities with a presentation of the court and announcement of homecoming king and queen, according to school officials. 
The Vikings will host Kingsley at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 9.
Due to current limits on the number of people allowed in sports venues, Grayling High School is not offering general admission tickets for varsity football games.
According to the GHS athletic department, coaches and players are allowed four tickets each and marching band members are allowed two tickets each for home games. The school will also offer a certain amount of tickets for students to purchase.
People who are able to purchase tickets will be on a “pass list” for games along with event staff and media members.
According to Executive Order 2020-176 – the “Safe Start” order – sports venues in Region 6 and Region 8 have to limit the number of people to “25% of maximum capacity or to 500, whichever is smaller.” Grayling High School is in Region 6.

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806

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