SUTTONS BAY — Gaylord St. Mary came out on top in a battle of two eight-player football heavyweights.
The two traded body blows all game before the Snowbirds (6-0) finally landed a haymaker with 5:38 remaining Saturday night on a Brady Hunter 9-yard touchdown pass to Logan Murrell to lead 48-47. Hunter then sealed the win with an interception.
“It was a back-and-forth slugfest,” St. Mary head coach Kevin O’Connell said. “(Suttons Bay is) freaking good. They have a very, very good ball club.”
The two teams combined for 1,215 yards in all-purpose yards, punting just once each. Suttons Bay (5-1) had a 670-545 advantage in all-purpose yardage.
Hunter ran 25 times for 138 yards and two touchdowns, completed seven of 13 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown and added nine tackles and two sacks on defense. Murrell ran for 124 yards and three TDs and caught three passes for 49 yards and another TD. He also posted 10 tackles.
Steven Koscielniak led the Snowbird defense with 14 tackles and three sacks.
“It was as advertised,” Suttons Bay second-year head coach Garrick Opie said. “Losing by a point, we didn’t get the W, but putting 47 up on them is pretty solid. With their quarterback being as shifty and quick as he is, they were hard to stop.”
St. Mary led 14-0 early on after a Murrell 34-yard TD run and Chris Koscielniak 4-yard run.
“We jumped back in and scored, then scored again and again,” Opie said.
Lucas Mikesell’s 40-yard TD run, 25-yard TD pass from Bryce Opie and an Opie 11-yard run led to the game tied 21-21 at halftime.
“It was back and forth all night long,” O’Connell said. “It boiled down to extra points, conversions and field position.”
Mikesell ran 13 times for 207 yards and Opie added 49 yards and a TD. Opie threw for 215 yards and three TDs on 10-of-13 passing.
Michael Loucks posted 18 tackles for the Norse, Mikesell added 16, Opie 13, Nate Devol 11 and Camryn Knaub 10.
Mikesell tied the Suttons Bay career record — held by Noah Reyhl — for most rushing touchdowns with his 36th, 37th and 38th, adding in two receiving TDs to boot. Bryce Opie broke the school’s career pass completions record with his 120th.
Loucks caught two passes for 75 yards and a TD and Mikesell hauled in four receptions for 75 yards and two TDs.
“I’m sure the kids will remember this one,” Garrick Opie said. “It sticks with you.”
The Snowbirds finish the season with three more games in a row against teams with winnings records, hosting Vestaburg (4-2) and Mio (5-1) before visiting Brethren (4-2) to conclude the regular season.
The Norsemen visit Central Lake (1-5) this week before hosting Onekama (5-1) and traveling to Mesick (5-1).
AA Gabriel Richard 42
Manistee: No stats reported.
Portland St. Pat 60
Manistee Catholic 12
Manistee Catholic: Mateo Barnett 13 carries, 99 yards, 2 catches for 61 yards, TD, 7 tackles; Bryant Dozier TD pass; Josue Hernandez 7 tackles.
Central Lake 54
Central Lake (1-5): Mason McCreary 20 carries, 226 yards, 2 TDs, 8.5 tackles; Austin Bay 9 carries, 105 yards, 4 TDs, 2-3 passing, 16 yards; Marvin Kline 73 rushing yards, TD, 10 tackles; Trevor Cain 7.5 tackles; T.J. Schultz 7 tackles.
UP NEXT: The Trojans host Suttons Bay, Friday.
Kingsley splits games in Kalkaska
Kingsley 4, Kalkaska 1: Noah Weber 2 goals; Masen Martell goal, 2 assists; Sam Belanger goal.
Benzie Central 7, Kingsley 2: Jake Lathrop goal; Martell goal.