OSCODA – At this point, a loss would be detrimental to the Oscoda football team’s playoff chances. The Owls trailed after the first quarter of Friday’s Northern Michigan Football Conference Legacy Division game at Johannesburg-Lewiston, but their offense never slowed down, scoring a season high in points in what was a resounding 62-22 victory.
“This was a tremendous win on the road,” head coach Mark Whitley said. “It was a total team effort both on defense, offense, and on special teams. The field was rain soaked and it rained on and off the entire game and I thought we did an excellent job of controlling the ball.”
The Cardinals, who reached the Division 8 semi-finals last year, led 16-14 after the first quarter. The Owls responded with a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter to lead 30-16 at the half and pulled away from there in the third and fourth quarters.
“We lost the opening kickoff to an onside kick, and after that we seemed to focus on our responsibilities, do our jobs and play football,” Whitley said. “When you do that, everyone seems to rally and have fun. Putting up 60 points on the road in rough weather, showed a lot of grit. The defense also stepped up in the second half and didn’t allow a point. The players and coaching staff were well aware that this was a must win game to stay in the playoff hunt, and I really saw the team respond.”
The offense racked up 469 yards of total offense, leaving Whitley to point out the strong play of his offensive lineman, Kaden Schirmer, Ian Boboltz, Nick Kusibab and Cameron Fabyan, and noted the blocking of Chris Thompson, Trevor Miller, Blake Mallak and Mikey Myles as well.
Damon Burrows led the offense with 185 yards and three touchdowns rushing, Carson Gooch had 48 yards and a touchdown on the ground and he also had one catch for a 19-yard touchdown. Anthony Ward had 10 rushes for 67 yards and a touchdown and he was three-of-five passing for 44 yards and a touchdown. Thompson ran eight times for 59 yards an da touchdown and Myles ran twice for 37 yards and a score.
The defense saw Thompson get 10 tackles, with Burrows and Boboltz getting nine tackles apiece. Parker Boughner had a fumble recovery, his fifth of the year, caused from a hit by Landen Weed.
“Our defense finally started to fill gaps and hit people late in the first quarter, and then dominated the game the rest of the way,” Whitley said. “We also blocked a punt off the arm of senior Austin Wisenant and recovered by Thompson and we also recorded an onside kick off the toe of Fabyan, recovered by Gooch.
Oscoda (4-3 overall, 2-2 NMFC Legacy) makes another road trip on Friday, when it heads to St. Ignace (2-5, 1-2) The Saints started the season with five straight losses, but have since topped Johannesburg-Lewiston 30-14 and Manistique 27-8.