Vikings win playoff football game 47-12 vs. Benzie Central Huskies
Tue, 11/03/2020 - 12:12pm caleb
Grayling advances to Division 6, Region 21, District 42 semifinals with victory on Friday at Viking Stadium
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The varsity football team from Grayling High School won 47-12 during a Division 6, Region 21, District 42 playoff game vs. the Benzie Central Huskies on Friday night at Viking Stadium.
Grayling opened the contest with a 60-yard scoring drive. The Vikings, starting at their 40-yard line, gained 10 yards on two rushes by David Millikin. Runs by Millikin and Anthony Fisher picked up another first down. Quarterback Hunter Ventline rushed for 27 yards on the next play. Millikin rushed for five yards on 1st and goal. On 2nd and goal, Millikin rushed for a five-yard TD. Eliot Boik kicked the extra point. With 9:18 left in the first period, Grayling led 7-0.
The Huskies responded with a 10-play 66-yard scoring drive, finishing the series with a 22-yard touchdown pass on 3rd and goal. Grayling blocked the extra point kick attempt.
With 4:19 remaining in the first quarter, the Vikings had a 7-6 lead.
Grayling recovered Benzie Central’s onside kick attempt at the 50-yard line. On the first play of the possession, Millikin rushed for a 50-yard TD. Boik kicked the extra point, and with 4:09 left in the first period, the Vikings led 14-6.
On 4th and 9, Benzie Central tried to punt, but Grayling blocked the attempt. The punter picked up the ball and tried to run for a first down, but the Vikings tackled him short of the marker. Grayling took over 26 yards from the goal line. On 1st and 10, Ventline threw to Dylan Cragg for a 26-yard TD. Boik kicked the extra point.
The Vikings, with 3:07 left in the first quarter, led 21-6.
Grayling tried an onside kick and Benzie Central recovered it at the 40-yard line. The Huskies picked up 10 yards with a completed pass on 1st and 10. Later, on 4th and 10, Benzie Central went for it and a drop on the play ended the series on downs.
The Vikings started at the 50-yard line. Millikin rushed for a 50-yard TD on first down, but a block in the back penalty nullified most of the gain. On 2nd and 5, Ventline ran for six yards. Millikin rushed for six yards. On 2nd and 4, Cragg caught a pass from Ventline for a 27-yard gain. On 1st and goal, Millikin rushed for an eight-yard touchdown. The extra point attempt was unsuccessful. With 11:53 left in the second period, Grayling had a 27-6 advantage.
Benzie Central drove from its 25-yard line to Grayling’s 10-yard line. The Vikings kept the Huskies out of the end zone, completing a goal line stand with a tackle for loss on 4th and goal from the 3-yard line.
Grayling took over at its 4-yard line. The series ended with a punt. Benzie Central muffed the kick, but the Huskies recovered the ball at Grayling’s 36-yard line. On 2nd and 10, Benzie Central threw deep for a 36-yard TD. The Huskies tried for two points on the conversion attempt and the pass fell incomplete.
Grayling, with 5:46 left in the first half, led 27-12.
The Vikings fielded Benzie Central’s onside kick attempt at their 49-yard line. Millikin ran for 21 yards on 1st and 10. Fisher ran for 23 yards on the next play. On 1st and goal, Millikin ran for a seven-yard touchdown. Boik kicked the extra point.
With 5:10 left in the second quarter, Grayling led 34-12.
The Vikings kicked it deep and Benzie Central returned the ball to its 30-yard line. On 1st and 10, the Huskies threw deep and Anthony Harrington intercepted the pass for Grayling.
On 3rd and 6, the third play of the resulting series, Millikin got free down the sideline for a 53-yard touchdown run. Benzie Central blocked the extra point kick attempt.
With 4:04 left in the first half, the Vikings led 40-12.
Benzie Central started at its 26-yard line after the kickoff. After two rushing plays, on 3rd and 2, Benzie Central’s pass attempt was tipped into the air near the line of scrimmage and Jordan Wakeley intercepted the ball.
Grayling took over 35 yards from the goal line. On first down, Ventline threw to Cragg; he caught the pass, shook a defender, and ran into the end zone for a 35-yard TD. After the extra point kick by Boik, with 2:37 left in the second period, Grayling led 47-12.
Benzie Central muffed the kickoff and covered the ball at its 11-yard line. The series ended with a punt on 4th and 11.
Grayling started at Benzie Central’s 45-yard line after the punt. Ventline threw to Drew Kanary for a 21-yard gain on 1st and 10. On the next play, Benzie Central intercepted a Grayling pass attempt in the end zone.
The Huskies ran once, ending the first half.
Grayling led 47-12.
The second featured a running clock due to point differential rules. The second half featured only three possessions – two for Benzie Central and one for Grayling – and neither squad scored.
The final score was Grayling 47, Benzie Central 12.
Millikin finished with 168 rushing yards and five TDs. Ventline threw for 104 yards with two TDs. Cragg had 85 receiving yards and two TDs. Jake Huspen rushed for 37 yards.
On defense, Kanary had six solo tackles and two forced fumbles. Wakeley had three solo tackles and one interception. Millikin had five solo tackles. Harrington had an interception and Tayvion Hall forced a fumble.
“It’s always great to get a win, especially at home and especially in the playoffs,” Coach Eric Tunney said. “We haven’t been in the playoffs in a few years so it’s a great experience for the kids to have. I know everyone got in this year but I really felt that these kids earned it by beating Ogemaw, which also earned them a chance to host a playoff game.”
“Benzie had players out due to a COVID outbreak, which is very unfortunate. They were not at full strength but give their kids credit for playing hard throughout the game,” Coach Tunney said. “I’m proud of the way our kids played and executed. We had a good week of practice and were able to make some plays on offense, and defense played well.”
Grayling High School football team officials and school officials said Benzie Central had to work with its area health department on contact tracing and quarantining before playing Friday’s game. Some area teams had to forfeit their playoff games on Friday due to positive COVID-19 tests.
“Each school has to work with its local health officials to make this determination and subsequently the decision to play or not to play,” school officials said.
“If nothing else, the Benzie situation is a good reminder to our kids to just enjoy each day we get to practice and play this game. I’m thankful that we’ve been able to play this much and want to keep playing for as long as possible obviously,” Coach Tunney said. “It’s scary seeing so many schools and teams having to shut down and my hope is that we don’t have to deal with such an issue. For now, we will keep following our protocols and try to keep getting better each day. We have a big game upcoming vs. Manistee. This is a fun group to coach and I can’t wait to watch them play again.”
The Vikings advance to the District 42 semifinals with the victory vs. Benzie Central. Grayling will play at Manistee in the semifinal round at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 6. Tickets will be available online.
“All playoff tickets will be sold online only via GoFan at https://gofan.co/ to provide for a cashless and contactless purchasing process that also allows for contact tracing. Tickets for single-session Pre-District, District and Regional games are $6. A per-ticket convenience fee will be applied,” according to the MHSAA.