TAWAS CITY – Host Tawas Area was able to hang around early with heavily favored Grayling in the two’s Northern Michigan Football Conference Legends Division contest Friday. The Braves weren’t quite able to keep up the pace, however, as the Vikings, who’s only two losses have come to ranked teams, pulled away to hand them a 52-6 loss on homecoming night.
“We did have a great showing in the first quarter,” head coach Aaron Hazen said. “The kids came out and played well. Early on, I was very pleased with how our players worked. The difference was experience, we had a few injuries and had to bring up some young players. As the night went on the speed of the game wore down our young defensive backfield and linebacker core.”
The Tawas defense forced a fumble on Grayling’s opening drive, which Kaiden Bellinger recovered at the 50-yard line.
Granite Barringer completed a 25-yard pass to Gabe Kaniszewski, who made a nice leaping catch at the 20-yard line to set up a first down.
Tawas got as far as the 15-yard line before the drive stalled on a failed fourth down attempt.
The Braves’ defense had an interception that would have likely been returned for a touchdown dropped. Still, they forced a punt to keep Grayling scoreless on its first two series.
Tawas was unable to cash in on the ensuing drive, however, and the Vikings scored on a long touchdown run to lead 8-0 late in the opening quarter.
Grayling scored 31 points in the second to take control of things with a 39-0 at the half.
A second quarter highlight included a trick play the Braves ran to perfection. Lukas Herrick, known more for his strong running ability, took a handoff and lobbed a well-placed ball for quarterback Barringer down the right sideline for what was a 31-yard gain. Herrick also had a second half highlight, scoring the team’s lone points on a 40-yard touchdown run.
“I thought all of the young guys played well; Cody Primm, Devan Grathoff, Noah Hopkins, and Max Herrick,” Hazen said. “Also, Lukas Herrick had a decent 40-yard touchdown run. Gabe Kaniszewski had some key receptions.”
Tawas (0-6 overall, 0-5 NMFC Legends) hosts Division 5’s fourth ranked team Kingsley (6-0, 5-0) on Thursday. The Stags took down Ogemaw Heights last week, 36-13.
“They are a good team, we hope to keep working and improving as the year progresses,” Hazen said.