Early TD barrage leads to 50-27 victory vs. Ogemaw Heights

Varsity football squad scores five first quarter touchdowns, improves to 6-2 overall with win against Falcons on Friday night at Viking Stadium
The Grayling Vikings turned a fast start into a large halftime lead during Friday’s varsity football game vs. West Branch Ogemaw Heights – a contest played at Viking Stadium – and Grayling High School defeated the Falcons by a final score of 50-27.
The Vikings started at their 35-yard line after the game’s opening kickoff. On 1st and 10, David Millikin broke free for a 65-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion attempt failed. With only 12 seconds gone from the clock, Grayling led 6-0.
On 4th and 12 – the fourth play of the series – Ogemaw punted, and Grayling started at its 39-yard line. The Vikings gained 10 yards on a penalty by the Falcons. On 2nd and 10, Millikin rushed for a 51-yard TD. Josh Aldrich ran the ball across the goal line for the two-point conversion.
With 10:07 left in the first period Grayling led 14-0.
Ogemaw returned the kickoff to its 42-yard line. On 1st and 10, the Falcons ran for a 58-yard touchdown. They kicked the extra point. The Vikings led 14-7 with 9:52 left in the first quarter.
Another possession for Grayling. Another long touchdown run for Millikin. This time, 51 yards on 2nd and 10, the second play of the series. Ogemaw stopped the two-point conversion attempt. The Vikings – with 9:37 left in the first period – had a 20-7 lead.
After a punt by Ogemaw Heights, Grayling started at its 12-yard line. The Vikings fumbled on 1st and 10 and the Falcons recovered the ball 16 yards from the goal line. Ogemaw drove 16 yards on two plays, finishing the series with a two-yard TD run on 1st and goal. The extra point kick was wide left. With 5:47 remaining in the first quarter, the Vikings led 20-13.
Grayling recovered Ogemaw’s on-side kick attempt and returned it to the 43-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Millikin broke through a tackle attempt and finished a 57-yard touchdown run. Aldrich rushed for the two-point conversion. The Vikings led 28-13 with 5:34 left in the first period.
After forcing a turnover on downs – Ogemaw went for it on 4th and 5 and Grayling stopped the play short of a first down – the Vikings took over at their 35-yard line. Grayling gained five yards on an offside penalty. On 2nd and 5, Anthony Fisher rushed for 32 yards. On the next play, quarterback Ethan Kucharek threw deep to Dylan Cragg for a 28-yard TD. Fisher ran the ball into the end zone for the two-point conversion. With 1:30 remaining in the first quarter, the Vikings led by 23, 36-13.
On 2nd and 11 – the eighth play of Ogemaw’s next drive – Cragg intercepted a pass attempt by the Falcons. The resulting series for the Vikings ended with a punt. Ogemaw Heights drove into Grayling territory but turned the ball over on downs with an incomplete pass on 4th and 12.
The Vikings started at their 25-yard line. On 2nd and 12, a screen pass to Fisher gained 52 yards. On the next play, Aldrich ran for a 25-yard TD. Millikin ran the ball into the end zone on the two-point conversion play. With 3:13 left in the second period, Grayling led 44-13.
Ogemaw Heights went for it on 4th and 3, fumbled on the play, and Grayling recovered the ball. 
The Vikings took over at their 40-yard line with 1:01 left in the first half. Kucharek threw to Cragg for a 19-yard gain on first down. A pass to Cragg picked up 11 yards. A catch by Aldrich gained 13 yards. On the final play of the first half, Kucharek completed a pass to Cragg in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown. Kucharek kicked the extra point.
At halftime, Grayling led 50-13.
The entire third period featured a running clock due to point differential rules, and neither squad scored during the quarter.
With 6:46 remaining in regulation, Ogemaw Heights finished a 17-play 70-yard drive with a six-yard TD run on 2nd and goal. The Falcons threw for the two-point conversion.
Ogemaw scored another touchdown late in the fourth quarter, setting up an 11-yard TD run with a 50-yard pass completion. The two-point conversion attempt failed.
Grayling killed the final 2:23.
The Vikings won 50-27.
“It was a great win against a solid Ogemaw team,” Coach Eric Tunney said. “They had some big guys and I’m proud of the way our guys took it to them. If you look at who they’ve lost to, they’ve played a very difficult schedule, so their record doesn’t tell you the whole story.”
“That first quarter was crazy and I’m not sure I’ve been a part of something quite like that. Our line gave David a small seam and he was off to the races. Our downfield blocking was great and if you give Milli those two things he can take it to the house on any play. The passing game wasn’t great to start but I’m glad we settled down and got to work on some hurry up in a pressure situation at the end of the half. Things like that are hard to replicate in practice so it’s nice to execute, especially at game speed on a Friday night,” Coach Tunney said. “Defense played well overall. We gave up a couple TDs early but when the offense is scoring on big plays it puts the defense out there a lot more. I’m sure Ogemaw dominated time of possession in the first quarter because of that.”
According to the team, Kucharek had 143 passing yards and two TDs. Millikin rushed for 220 yards with four TDs. Cragg had 75 receiving yards and two TDs.
On defense, Sparty Skillern had nine solo tackles, four assists, and three tackles for loss. Millikin had five solo tackles, four assists, one tackle for loss, and one forced fumble. Fisher had four solo tackles, five assists, and one fumble recovery. Ben Gonzales had three solo tackles, three assists, and one tackle for loss. Cragg had an interception.
“Once again, we were able to get a lot of guys quality playing time, which is going to help us as we get ready for Benzie and the playoffs. I like where we’re at and I think we’re really starting to click. We played some tough games earlier and those are going to be valuable moving forward. Our guys are fun to coach, fun to watch, and if we continue to get better at the little things and stay healthy, I think we can make another run,” Coach Tunney said. “Thanks again to our student section, band, and all of Viking Nation for cheering us on, even in the rain.”
Grayling (6-2 overall, 4-2 league) stayed in third place in the Northern Michigan Football Conference Legends Division with Friday’s victory. The Vikings are behind Kingsley (8-0 overall, 6-0 league) and Traverse City St. Francis (8-0 overall, 6-0 league).
The Vikings will end their 2021 regular season with a league game at Benzie Central (2-6 overall, 1-5 league) at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 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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