SUTTONS BAY — Hugh Periard had a night to remember.
The Suttons Bay senior was crowned homecoming king and tied the state’s season pick-six record at three in a 56-6 win Friday night over Central Lake, staying undefeated at 6-0.
Periard intercepted Central Lake quarterback Brayden Steenwyk on his first offensive drive, then caught and scored his golden interception the next time the Trojan’s were on offense. He returned the ball about 40 yards for the score, breaking a tackle at the goal line and extending the ball over the line for the first points of the game.
He shares the eight-player record with Jason Whitens from Powers North Central, who had three interception return touchdowns in the 2017 season (13 games). The 11-player record stands at six in a season — set by Maurice Cooper from Saginaw Nouvel in 1984 — and only nine other players have at least three.
“He’s a phenomenal asset to our team — period,” Suttons Bay coach Garrick Opie said. “He’s really finding his timing, and his timing to close on receivers as a defensive back.”
Suttons Bay led 36-0 at halftime and didn’t allow a TD until the game was already at a running clock in the fourth quarter. A score from Shawn Bramer pushed the lead to 56-0. Steenwyk threw a pass to Kelan Pletcher for the Trojans only score.
Both Opie and Periard credited defensive coordinator Steve Loucks for scouting the Trojans pass-heavy offense well.
“I think defensively we’re sound, but I see so many good things on offense as well,” Opie said. “I think we have been scoring efficiently, but I still always think there’s room for improvements on both sides of the ball.”
Bramer led in rushing with 125 yards on seven carries and two touchdowns, also catching three for 82 yards and a score. Brayden Opie tackled eight (two for a loss, one sack) and caught two passes for 33 yards and a TD. Matthew Kohler had two sacks.
Dylan Barnowski completed 6-of-7 passes for 140 yards, while Central Lake’s Steenwyk completed 10-of-23 for 84 yards, along with throwing the two interceptions caught by Periard.
The Norseman (ranked No. 5 in among eight-player teams) outscored their opponents 266-46, allowing an average of less than 10 points per game.
“We come up and fill, we hit, and we stop pretty good teams,” Periard said.
Central Lake sure looked like it a few weeks ago. It tied the state record for the most combined points scored in an eight-player game at 152 in an 86-66 loss at Inland Lakes.
Trojans coach Chase Hibbard said the memory of a failed fake punt in the first quarter “deflated” the team right away.
“To me, I think they’re probably one of the best teams in the state of Michigan eight-man,” Hibbard said of Suttons Bay. “Hands down.”
Friday night’s eight-player clash saw two of the most successful football co-ops in the northwest Lower Peninsula in recent years — and technically four schools can claim they took the field.
Suttons Bay co-ops with Lake Leelanau St. Mary and Central Lake with Ellsworth. Between the two programs, one has been to the state finals three out of the last four seasons. Central Lake won the 2017 state title, eliminating Suttons Bay in the regional finals of that year.
The Norseman are two-time state runner-ups, falling in both the 2019 and 2020 finals.
Even on the basketball court, St. Mary — led by then-sophomores Bramer and Barnowski — eliminated an Ellsworth team led by Steenwyk, Jamal Cebulski and Pletcher in the 2020 basketball regional semifinals. The same five players met on the field again Friday.
“Suttons Bay has always been a fun team to play against,” Hibbard said. “It’s nice having two co-op teams that have been successful. The camaraderie the two schools have to work with other schools, I think it’s great.”
Garrick Opie said having the four schools in successful co-ops is “extremely productive.”
“We say it all the time, we’re one family,” he said. “It’s how you treat it, I think. If you treat it as a separate situation ... you can’t do that. We make it extremely cohesive and it’s been phenomenal, and I think it’s a testament to both programs.”
Suttons Bay hosts Wyoming Godfrey-Lee to fill its open spot in week eight. It was talking with No. 3-ranked Portland St. Patrick, but they had just picked up a game.
The Norsemen travel to face No. 6 Marion on Friday.