HURLEY — Hurley finished the regular season at 8-1 with a 55-12 rout of Ontonagon in Great Western Conference play Friday night.
The Midgets learn their playoff seed and matchup today with Level 1 scheduled for next Friday or Saturday. They should get a home game and a No. 2 or 3 seed is realistic, but there are so many variables it’s impossible to predict.
“Good season, 8-1. Let’s get on to the second season now,” Hurley coach Scott Erickson said. “I think our team is focused. I think they’re ready to make a run. We’ve got some good players all across the board. I feel pretty good about where we’re at.”
On Friday’s parent and senior night, Hurley felt pretty good after taking a 16-0 lead before its explosive offense hit the field.
On the second play from scrimmage, Roman Lupino intercepted a Drew Morris pass and went 60 yards for the touchdown. Lupino ran in the conversion for the 8-0 lead.
Ontonagon was forced to punt on the ensuing possession and Hurley’s Michael Brannigan took the return 52 yards to the house with a key block coming from Mitchell Maki. Jake Tenlen’s conversion pass to Jared Wendt made it 16-0 Hurley.
The Midgets’ offense finally took the field and Maki capped off the eight-play, 59-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown. Hurley led 22-0.
The Gladiators responded with a score of their own. Drew Morris eluded the fierce Hurley pressure and hit a wide-open Tony Soumis for a 67-yard touchdown. Ontonagon trailed 22-6.
“We did a little different formation on offense and we were looking to spread the ball out and get it to Soumis a little tonight,” Ontonagon coach Dave Linczeski said. “We got a big play there and made the score a little more respectable at that point.”
The Midgets added another TD before the quarter was over as leading rusher Mark Saari went 45 yards for a 28-6 advantage.
Hurley scored three times in the second quarter. Tenlen hit Jared Wendt for a four-yard touchdown on Hurley’s only pass of the night, other than the earlier two-point conversion. Lupino went 41 yards and Saari ran 67 for scores. Jordan Moore hit two of the three extra points and Hurley led 48-6 at the half.
Maki went to quarterback in the second half and ran 30 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. Moore’s kick made it 55-6.
Morris found Soumis again for a 68-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring.
Saari led Hurley with 171 yards rushing on nine carries with two touchdowns. Hurley rushed for a mind-blowing 511 yards on 59 carries as the second string was also able to move the ball after the Midgets 348 yards in the first half. Morris was 8 of 16 for 201 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. Soumis caught six passes for 147 yards.
Lupino and Wendt each had two interceptions.
“We struggled at times,” Linczeski said. “Early on, we had a little trouble with footing and gripping the ball.”
Tenlen’s first start at quarterback went smoothly for the Midgets. He kept Ontonagon guessing with the fakes needed to make Hurley’s offense tick.
“That’s definitely one of his strong suits,” Erickson said. “I really like how he threw the ball. We found some throws he could make and we found a backup quarterback tonight with Mitchell. He ran the ball real well and handled the offense good, too.”
Erickson said Jake Zeller also played well in place of Matt Christoferson, just as Tenlen did in place of James Sukanen. They are out with illness/injuries.
“Hopefully we can get one of the two back. I’m not so sure,” Erickson said.
Linczeski was sure of what to think of Hurley after the game.
“It’s your typical Hurley team; they’re just what we expected,” Linczeski said. “They ran that trap like crazy. It’s nearly unstoppable and we wish them luck in the playoffs.”
The WIAA was to announce the four regions within Division 6 early this morning. Erickson was to then find out where the seeding meeting was and complete that meeting this morning.
The top four seeds get a Level 1 home game and Hurley figures to get a high seed with its 8-1 mark. But, as always, it depends who the WIAA puts in the region. The Midgets have recently gone in the northwest region, yet going to the northeast region is a possibility. But that’s only happened once.
The Level 1 game will be either next Friday or Saturday. The default day is Friday, unless a team must travel 120 miles or more, then it’s Saturday. The teams could both agree to have it the other day and Hurley would like it on Friday night.
Ontonagon (0-8) finishes the regular season against also winless Baraga Friday night.
Ontonagon 6 0 0 6 — 12
Hurley 28 20 7 0 — 55
Hur — Roman Lupino 60 interception return (Lupino run), 11:02
Hur — Michael Brannigan 52 punt return (Jared Wendt from Jake Tenlen), 9:52
Hur — Mitchell Maki 10 run (run failed), 5:28
Ont — Tony Soumis 67 pass from Drew Morris (pass failed), 5:09
Hur — Mark Saari 45 run (kick failed), 3:48
Hur — Wendt 4 pass from Tenlen (Jordan Moore kick), 11:54
Hur — Lupino 41 run (kick failed), 9:20
Hur — Saari 67 run (Moore kick), 6:41
Hur — Maki 30 run (Moore kick), 8:25
Ont — Soumis 68 pass from Morris (pass failed), 6:30
First downs 3 19
Rushes-yards 12-2 59-511
Comp-att-int 8-16-4 1-1-0
Passing 201 4
Total yards 203 515
Penalties-yards 1-5 3-15
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-2
Rushing — Ontonagon, Tony Soumis 5-18, Kyle Karttunen 1-2, Drew Morris 6-minus 18. Hurley, Mark Saari 9-171, Roman Lupino 5-85, Nick Fink 9-71, Cole Huotari 12-62, Devin Czerneski 7-46, Mitchell Maki 9-39, Tandrell Foster 6-24, Jake Tenlen 2-13.
Passing — Ontonagon, Drew Morris 8-16-201-4. Hurley, Jake Tenlen 1-1-4-0.
Receiving — Ontonagon, Tony Soumis 6-147, Noel Jenney 1-52, Kyle Karttunen 1-2. Hurley, Jared Wendt 1-4.