ST. IGNACE – The playoff push for the Oscoda football team continues. The Owls, playing at St. Ignace Friday night in a key Northern Michigan Football Conference Legacy Division game, outlasted the Saints to claim a hard-fought 18-12 victory. 

“What a tough, gutty win on the road,” head coach Mark Whitley said of the team’s third straight win. “After a three-plus hour car ride, I thought our kids played an excellent football game. It is very difficult to get your body and mind prepared to play a football game after sitting for three-plus hours. We were in a must-win situation as far as the playoffs are concerned and the team did their job.” 

The contest was knotted up at 6-6 after the first quarter, with Oscoda leading 12-6 at the half and 18-6 entering the fourth. 

“We talked about it all week that we needed to start fast and that we couldn’t let the long ride affect the way we play,” Whitley said. “It was evident from the first play, that the we were going to prove that as Anthony Ward took the first snap and ran 48 yards down to the Saints 20 behind some tremendous blocks. I thought we moved the ball well all night, led by Ward with 214 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries. Chris Thompson, Carson Gooch and Damon Burrows ran extremely hard all night with Gooch and Thompson also scoring touchdowns behind the blocks of Trevor Miller, Kaden Schirmer, Parker Boughner, Ian Boblotz, Nick Kusibab and Cameron Fabyan. 

“Also blocking well on the edge were Blake Mallak and Mikey Myles,” he added. “We still need to clean up a few of our mistakes, penalties, fumbles and picks in close games can really cost you.”

The Owl defense kept the Saints in check as well, holding them to just single scores in each half of action. Gooch, Mallak and Miller each recovered a fumble, Myles hauled in a pair of interceptions and Thompson had one interception. 

“Our defense played great all night with pressure up front from Schirmer, Miller, Gutierrez, Boughner, Fabyan and Thompson,” Whitley said. “The linebacker (group) of Burrows, Boboltz and Ward I thought were outstanding, tackling sideline to sideline.”

Oscoda (5-3 overall, 3-2 NMFC Legacy) wraps up the regular at home on Friday, against Houghton Lake (2-6). 

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