Midgets hand Broncos first loss
HARRIS – A three-hour bus ride nor the No. 3-ranked Division 8 team in the Upper Peninsula could stop the Hurley Midgets Friday night.
Nothing really is stopping Hurley these days.
The Midgets racked up 500 rushing yards on 54 carries and handed host Bark River-Harris its first loss of the season 52-34 Friday night. Hurley won its fourth straight game in the midst of a tough schedule, improved to 6-1 and secured an 18th straight trip to the WIAA postseason.
"I thought offensively our kids were fantastic. We executed very well, line blocked well," Hurley coach Scott Erickson said. "Proud of all our kids, we stuck to what we worked on all week, we had a game plan. We blocked and our guys ran hard, they got good yardage after contact, so I'm very pleased with that effort."
Despite the gaudy offensive numbers, the Midgets picked up two early key takeaways. Hurley forced a turnover and recovered an onside kick, scoring off both of them for a 14-0 lead.
"The best thing is we got them out of what they like to do a little bit," Erickson said. "We forced them to play from behind and we picked up turnovers early in the game and that was a tone set for us."
They forced a Bark River three-and-out to start the game, but the Broncos picked off a pass by Isaac DeCarlo. Hurley, though, got it right back when Bark River's Alex Mathias fumbled; it was recovered by Hurley's Ryley Eitrem at the BR 26. The Midgets cashed in on the ensuing drive on a 24-yard touchdown run by Ronnie Nickel. Hurley led 7-0.
A pooch kick by Hurley's Mitchell Maki was fumbled by Jacob Westlund and recovered by Hurley's Devin Czerneski at the BR-H 48.
The Midgets scored on a rare long drive, a 10-play drive capped by Maki's one-yard touchdown run. That put Hurley up 14-0. Maki finished with a career-best 220 yards on 18 carries.
"We came out and put the ball on the ground a bunch," Bark River coach Al Stenberg said. "We dug ourselves a hole. We weren't clicking offensively like we normally are, so that slowed us down a bit, too."
The Broncos got on the board with a six-yard touchdown run by Iver Stenberg early in the second quarter.
That was the first of three touchdowns in three offensive plays in the span of 36 seconds for the teams.
The Midgets' Kyle Osterman-Seely recovered an onside kick at the Hurley 49. Hurley quarterback Isaac DeCarlo kept it 51 yards on the first play of the drive for a touchdown. The Midgets led 21-6.
The Broncos returned the favor, also scoring on the first play of their drive, a 67-yard run by Alex Mathias.
"God, I hate that stuff , touchdown after touchdown after touchdown," Erickson said. "They got so much speed, their backs are so fast, we're pretty quick, but we couldn't track them down in the open field."
The frantic pace finally slowed. The Midgets committed costly penalties, DeCarlo was sacked, and Maki tripped on what looked like a touchdown run, so they turned it over on downs. But Bark River punted again and Hurley scored one more time before the half, on a 23-yard field goal by Maki with eight tenths of a second left in the half.
Hurley led 24-12 at halftime.
The Midgets came out of halftime and, on the first play from scrimmage, Maki busted loose off right tackle for a 75-yard touchdown.
Bark River again returned the favor as Josh Madalinski went 61 yards on the first play of the ensuing drive. That was the fourth one-play touchdown drive of the game. Just like that, 38 seconds into the half, Hurley led 31-18.
The Midgets slowed the pace and went 60 yards in 10 plays on the next drive with Devin Czerneski sticking it in from a yard out for a 38-18 lead.
Bark River didn't stop scoring, though as Bryce Sundquist punched it in from a yard out and Bark River was within 38-26.
Hurley scored the next 14 points to seal it. On the next possession, Hurley picked up a first down on a pass interference call on fourth down. On the next play, Czerneski ran 13 yards for a touchdown.
The Midgets' Erik Barker stopped Mathias for no gain on fourth and 3, giving Hurley the ball at its own 47. On the third play of the drive, Nickel went 40 yards for a score and a healthy 52-26 lead.
"Defensively we got some stops when we needed them," Erickson said.
Bark River added a touchdown with no time remaining to make the final score, 52-34.
Nickel finished with 149 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. His backfield teammates, Czerneski and Maki, also had two TD runs.
"We just didn't tackle well," Stenberg said. "You play a team of this caliber and you don't tackle, you're not going to have success."
The road doesn't get any easier from here with Hurley hosting North Dickinson Friday and Bark River playing Munising.
Hurley 14 10 21 7 - 52
BR-H 0 12 14 8 - 34
Hur – Ronnie Nickel 24 run (Mitchell Maki kick), 4:43
Hur – Maki 1 run (Maki kick), :1.7
BRH – Iver Stenberg 6 run (run failed), 9:47
Hur – Isaac DeCarlo 51 run (Maki kick), 9:31
BRH – Alex Mathias 67 run (run failed), 9:11
Hur – Maki 23 field goal, :00.8
Hur – Maki 75 run (Maki kick), 11:37
BRH – Josh Madalinski 61 run (pass failed), 11:22
Hur – Devin Czerneski 1 run (Maki kick), 6:38
BRH – Bryce Sundquist 1 run (Mathias run), 5:07
Hur – Czerneski 13 run (Maki kick), :47.7
Hur – Nickel 40 run (Maki kick), 8:18
BRH – Jacob Greenfield 17 pass from Sundquist (Mathias run), :00
First downs 16 6
Rushes-yards 54-500 26-219
Comp-Att-Int 1-8-1 5-12-1
Passing 30 126
Total yards 530 345
Penalties-yards 6-58 3-25
Rushing – Hurley, Mitchell Maki 18-220, Ronnie Nickel 15-149, Isaac DeCarlo 6-72, Devin Czerneski 16-59. Bark River-Harris, Alex Mathias 11-101, Josh Madalinski 2-63, Jacob Greenfield 6-38, Ryan Arndt 1-15, Iver Stenberg 2-7, Logan Heim 1-4, Bryce Sundquist 3-minus 9.
Passing – Hurley, Isaac DeCarlo 1-8-30-1. Bark River-Harris, Bryce Sundquist 5-11-126-1, Nick Dwyer 0-1-0-1.
Receiving – Hurley, Ronnie Nickel 1-30. Bark River-Harris, Jacob Greenfield 3-65, Iver Stenberg 1-56, Jace Briggs 1-5.