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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Maroons Start Fast To Hammer Houghton 63-6

Fast start?

How about lightening quick!

Reaching the end zone five times in the opening 12 minutes, the Menominee Maroons had no trouble in their Michigan pre-district playoff game Saturday routing Houghton 63-6. The lopsided post-season win saw the Maroons cruise to a 49-zip halftime lead while improving their gridiron readout to a perfect 10-0.

“Our kids were really dialed in for the first game....played with a lot of emotion and heart,” Maroon coach Joe Noha said. “Defensively we contained their quarterback on isolation plays while our offense executed well as everybody was engaged in their blocks. This was a nice team win and all of our players got a chance to get on the field for the most part.”

How dominant were the Maroons? They averaged 10.9 yards per play and scored 5 touchdowns in the opening 12 minutes. Menominee was very efficient with its offense, totaling 373 yards over 34 plays as the run game battered Houghton for 299 yards on 24 carries and 7 touchdowns.

The first two times Menominee touched the ball resulted in touchdowns as Justin Brilinski bolted 32 yards on the opening play from scrimmage (10:36) while Devon Harris added a 62 yard punt return (8:08). The Maroons still had plenty of time for three more scores in the opening frame....James Brown capped a 4 play, 48 yard drive with a 2 yard run (4:57), Harris rambled 23 yards to paydirt at the 1:00 mark before 6’6 end Tyler Howell hauled in a 25 yard scoring toss from Harris with just 27 ticks left in the opening frame.

“That was quite a start for our kids and something we wanted to do,” Noha added. “This is a good group of kids that has unity year around. It is important that the kids buy into what we are coaching and this group has.”

Defensively Menominee limited Houghton (6-4) to 123 total yards, 96 rushing and 27 passing. The Gremlins were forced to punt 5 times in the opening quarter with all the boots resulting in Menominee points.

After gaining one yard on 3 downs, Houghton’s Ben Collaer got off a 12 yard punt, which was partially blocked. The Maroons were about to tally points on their first play from scrimmage. Taking over at the Gremlin 32, Menominee gave the ball to Brilinski, who swept right end and raced untouched to the end zone. Evan Pohlmann split the uprights on the first of a record-tying 9 extra point kicks for a 7-0 lead.

Houghton managed one first down on its second drive, but was forced to punt from the 35. This boot made it downfield with Harris fielding the ball at his own 32 and racing 68 yards to the end zone (8:08).

Another “three and out” gave Menominee a first down near midfield. Brilinski hit Harris for 17 yards to the 35 before three straight runs by Brown put the Maroons up 21-0 (4:57).

Gaining just one yard on the ensuing drive, Houghton watched Collaer get off a 28 yard kick into the wind to the Maroon 47. Brilinski ripped off 29 yards on first down then hit Brown for 9 yards and Harris for 8 to the 7. A bad snap on first down forced Brown back to the 23 before Harris found plenty of running room on second down for the touchdown (1:00).

Keeping the pressure on Houghton, Menominee used a couple of strategic timeouts to force the fifth punt of the first quarter, a 7 yarder into the wind, getting the ball back at the 25. It took the Maroons just one play to up the lead to 35-zip as Harris flipped a 25 yard scoring toss to Howell with 27 ticks remaining on the clock.

Menominee lit up the scoreboard twice in the second quarter on runs by Brown to pad the lead to 49-0 by intermission. A pass interception by Shaun Sullivan set up Brown’s 79 yard scoring scamper at the 5:25 mark. Getting the ball back following another defensive stop, Menominee watched Devon Barley race 26 yards to the one followed by a short blast from Brown (1:12).

The explosive Maroons struck quickly in the third quarter, making their way to the end zone on 4 plays. Tailback Brilinski capped the quick march with a 47 yard jaunt at the 9:20 mark.

Houghton finally got on the scoreboard at the 11:43 mark of period four when Collaer hooked up with Tristan Foltz from 7 yards out.

Menominee added a late score as Barley scooted in from 11 yards out with 3:01 remaining.

The Maroons will put their unbeaten mark on the line Saturday afternoon at 1pm hosting Grayling (9-1) in the District 1 finals. The winner will advance to the state quarterfinals the following week against the Standish-Sterling and Gladwin victor.

“Grayling gives you the spread look but runs off of it as well. They have a left-handed quarterback, a 3 year starter, who runs and throws the ball well. Two years ago in a playoff game at Blesch he put the ball up 72 times and we had 5-6 interceptions. Our defense has to read its keys and be disciplined,” Noha concluded.


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