By Mike Dunn Special to the Record-Eagle
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — HARRISVILLE — Lake City rallied from an 8-7 second-quarter deficit to score on seven of its next eight possessions and roll to a 56-14 triumph in a Division 7 district title game Saturday.
The Trojans (10-1) hoisted the district trophy and advanced to the regional championship game at unbeaten Ishpeming (11-0) for the second year in a row. The Hematites, the defending Div.7 state champions, defeated formerly unbeaten West Iron County 38-0 on Friday in their district title clash.
Lake City senior quarterback Drew Marion scored six times against the Tigers and also threw 15 yards to fellow senior Dylan Allard for another score. Senior running back Jake Truesdale also powered over for a 1-yard touchdown.
Marion’s 4-yard run off-tackle capped a 12-play, 64-yard scoring march on Lake City’s opening possession of the game but the Tigers responded with a methodical 10-minute scoring drive of their own culminating in QB Cody Franklin going over from the 5 at the 11:22 mark of the second quarter. Franklin then scrambled and found Garrette Norling in the end zone for two points and an 8-7 advantage on the scoreboard.
The lead didn’t last long, however. Marion scored again, this time on a 6-yard gallop around end, to make it 12-8 with 4:18 left in the second quarter, igniting a remarkable five-touchdown assault by the quick-strike Trojans in a span of less than seven minutes.
A fumble recovery by defensive lineman Cody Burns on the Tigers’ first play of the ensuing drive led to Marion’s 33-yard TD run with 3:58 left until the half and a 20-8 lead; a 17-yard connection from Marion to Nate Holt set up Marion’s 8-yard tally with 1:58 left and a 28-8 lead; a failed punt attempt by the Tigers and a tackle behind the line of scrimmage from alert defensive lineman Aaron Lewis led to Marion firing to Allard in the back of the end zone for a 15-yard tally with 9 seconds still showing on the clock and a 35-8 lead at intermission.
The Tigers fumbled again on their first possession of the second half and linebacker Austin Booms made the recovery this time, leading to Marion’s 5-yard push straight up the gut behind the block of center Zach Redman to make the score 42-8 at the 10:30 mark of the third quarter.
Later in the quarter, Marion added a 2-yard score, his sixth of the game, to end a 12-play, 48-yard march that was set up by Jared Ball’s kickoff return into Tiger territory. Truesdale put the final points on the board with his short plunge with 7:44 left in the fourth quarter.
Marion rumbled to 143 yards of real estate on 18 carries. He has scored 10 touchdowns in Lake City’s two playoff victories to date. He also hit on 14-of-20 aerials for another 199 yards, including the TD toss to Allard. Holt hauled in four passes for 59 yards and Kevin Kunkel brought in four for 51 yards. Bradley Atkins caught two for 30 yards and also pulled down a two-point conversion.
Truesdale, working between the tackles, pushed to 32 yards in 12 tries. Marion booted four extra points in the game and freshman Ethan Blaszak hit two.
Marion made two sacks from his linebacker post and sophomore defensive end Levi Aten also recorded a sack.
Nathan Fettes, one of three Tigers with more than 1,000 yards rushing this season, set up his team’s other touchdown with a 70-yard run to the 2-yard line in the third quarter. Franklin took it in from there for his second TD of the game.
In last year’s rainy regional title game at Ispheming, Lake City suffered a 28-12 setback on a very muddy field. The Hematites won their next two games to finish unbeaten and capture the state championship.
The Hematites haven’t allowed a point in their first two games so far this postseason.