Five Straight For Menominee
Brilinski Sparks 503 Yard
Punch With Hand In 4 Scores;
Maroons Even Series At 50-50-7
Sparked by the running and passing of junior tailback Justin Brilinski, the Menominee Maroons rolled to their fifth straight M&M Game victory with a 56-27 pounding of visiting Marinette Saturday afternoon. All the 180 pound Brilinski did was have a hand in 4 touchdowns, two rushing and two passing, to key a 503 yard offensive attack.
The win enabled the Maroons to even the M&M series at 50-50-7 and improve their perfect readout to 7-0 on the season. Despite giving the heavily favored Maroons all they could handle for two-plus quarters, Marinette couldnt maintain the intensity and fell to 2-6 overall.
I told the kids at halftime, this is what M&M football is all about. Sometimes the records and scoreboard dont mean anything and it comes down to a lot of pride and history. Marinette smacked our team in the mouth the first half, but we responded after that, Maroon coach Joe Noha said. I give coach Andy Walters and his team all kinds of credit as they took away our running game for a while and were very physical with us.
Marinette trailed 7-6 at the first break then closed the gap to 21-13 just 12 seconds into the second half. After that quick third period score, Menominee responded with 4 straight touchdowns to build up a comfortable 49-13 spread.
I'm pleased with the effort of our kids. We stressed all week that we had to match their intensity and I believe we did that. Our kids can hold their heads high because they played hard from start to finish. Sometimes you play teams that are flat out better than you are, and we had a tough time hanging on. We would have liked to come out of that game with a win for our community, school, and program but we took some steps forward and represented Marinette football tradition with class and hard play, Marinette coach Andy Walters said.
Brilinski wasnt the only Maroon to have a big M&M game. Backfield mates, James Brown and Devon Harris, had one touchdown each while tight end Shaun Sullivan caught 3 passes for 107 yards and two scores.
Sullivan had a monster game with his 3 catches and did a great job blocking and on defense. Marinette took him away early but we did find some openings. Brown and Harris also had big games as we try to be a 5/20 team. Get each of our 5 playmakers 20% of the offensive opportunities. Offensively we had some big gains and a huge advantage when our 190 pound backs went up against and blocked their 160 pound defenders on the edges, Noha added.
Menominee finished with 503 yards of offense, including 316 yards rushing on 32 carries for a plush 9.9 yard average. Through the air Brilinski connected on 6 of 8 throws for 126 yards and two scores.
While the Maroons flourished on offense, Marinette netted 255 yards...167 rushing and 88 passing. Caylubb Maske gained 60 yards in 11 rushes and Colton Dessart 10-43. Getting pressured the entire game, quarterback Marcus Maguire hit on 6 of 11 tosses for 75 yards. Brian Klumb had two catches for 53 yards, Aaron Benson 2-27 and Dessart 2-12.
After forcing Marinette into a pair of three and outs, the Maroons took over at their own 38. Three runs chewed up the yardage as Brilinski gained 3 yards on first down and Brown 43 down to the 11. Brilinski took it from there and found the comforts of the end zone at the 7:10 mark. Evan Pohlmann booted the first of 8 extra point kicks for a 7-0 lead.
Marinette answered on the ensuing drive, marching 80 yards in 8 plays. Maguire used a pair of completions to get Marinette moving, hitting Klumb for 45 yards to the Menominee 33 then adding a 17 yard hookup with Benson making a spectacular catch at the one. Blake Miller capped the march with a short plunge at the 3:44 mark. The extra point kick by Austin Mahlik was blocked leaving Marinette behind 7-6
The Maroons upped the lead to 14-6 when Brilinski busted loose on a 57 yard jaunt with 3:49 left in the half. The long run ended a 4 play, 80 yard drive which saw Brilinski carry 3 times for a total of 75 yards.
After another stop to force the fifth Marinette punt of the half, Menominee took over at its own 46. Brilinski saw his first down run get called back because of a blocking in the back penalty, before scoring on the next play thanks to some gridiron trickery. Seems the Maroon coaching staff dug deep into the playbook and decided to run the hook and lateral play. It worked to perfection and caught the Marinette defense by surprise.
Brilinski fired a pass to Sullivan, who lateraled to Brown completing the 47 yard scoring play with 1:11 showing on the clock. Pohlmanns kick upped the halftime advantage to 21-6.
The play not only enabled the Maroons to take a 15 point edge into the halftime break, but all of the momentum along with it.
Following intermission, it took Marinette just 12 seconds to get back in the game. And regain plenty of momentum. Seems that Menominees Austin Vorachek got jolted and separated from the ball on the kickoff return with Maguire scooping up the fumble and racing 19 yards to the end zone. Mahliks kick quieted the crowd and got Marinette within 21-13 (11:48).
After being dealt that adversity, the Maroons had an answer...more defense and four straight touchdowns.
We got a good group of seniors that are very resilient and were able to overcome some troubles early in the third quarter. Our success over the years is a combined effort with everything we do with the kids, community, parents, coaches and school, Noha remarked.
Starting at their own 29, the Maroons answered with a 5 play, 71 yard scoring march to go up 28-13. Brilinski carried three times to midfield before hitting a wide open Sullivan on a 46 yard scoring toss (9:33).
Holding the Marines on downs, Menominee took over at the 33 and made its way to the end zone in 4 plays. The key play was a 44 yard scoring scamper by Brilinski to push the upper hand to 35-13 with 6:29 left.
Another Marine punt was turned into a another Maroon touchdown as Harris capped an 8 play, 70 yard scoring march. Brilinski got the ball twice for 8 yards while Harris picked up 37 yards on 3 runs, including a 22 yard scoring dash for a 42-13 edge (1:43).
With the Menominee defense doing its job again with a three and out, the Maroon offense took over at the 29. Three plays later Sullivan broke free and hauled in a 61 yard touchdown pass from Harris on the opening play of quarter four. Pohlmanns kick gave the Maroons a commanding 49-13 edge and also started the mercy clock.
Not giving up, Marinette tallied the first of two fourth quarter teedees. Colton Dessart scored from 4 yards out with 10:04 left to cap a 56 yard drive.
Kicking off, Marinette ran into more trouble as Vorachek, who fumbled to open the third quarter, atoned for the miscue with an 85 yard return for a touchdown. Pohlmann drilled his 8th PAT for a 56-20 lead.
But Marinette had time for one more touchdown as Maske raced 43 yards to the end zone for the final points of the 107th M&M game.
The start of the game was delayed about 30 minutes because of a thunderstorm that rolled through the area.
The delay to start the game is something we can not control, deal with it and move on. We went into the gym and threw the ball around while trying to relax. I honestly believe that hook and lateral play was the turning point in the game and definitely a momentum changer, Noha said.
Menominee will put its unbeaten mark on the line with a rare Thursday road game against James Madison of Milwaukee (3-5) before wrapping up the season with a GNC clash at Marquette on October 25.
We are playing for an undefeated season and playoff seeding, Noha said. It will be a quick turnaround for Thursdays game while Marquette is 5-1 overall and beat Kingsford earlier. That will not be an easy game.
Marinette will close out the season Friday night hosting New London in a Bay Conference outing.
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