Alcona rises up

ROGERS CITY-Even the most talented teams need a while to get going.

Such was the case with Alcona football team on Friday at Rogers City. The Tigers overcame some early mistakes and turned on the jets in the second half to defeat the Hurons 30-12 at Gilpin Field.

Cody Franklin rushed for 123 yards on 19 carries and threw for a touchdown as the Tigers (3-0) eventually used their running game to power past a Rogers City squad that proved to be a tough matchup.

“They came out with a nice game plan defensively, they’re real tough kids. They were tough on the inside and they exposed some issues for us,” Alcona coach Dave Schneider said. “That’s one of the nice things about playing teams like this, we’re going to fry much bigger fish than the Rogers City Hurons, but we need to be able to beat teams like this.”

Trailing 16-6 at halftime, Rogers City (2-1) scored on its first drive of the second-half. Starting on their own 30, the Hurons scored after seven plays when Jack Ryan found the end zone from four yards out. A missed two-point conversion left Alcona ahead 16-12 with 7:53 left in the quarter.

Alcona put the pedal down from there, scoring on its next two drives. The Tigers marched from their own 19 and finally scored when Franklin found paydirt from 19-yards out, taking a 22-12 lead.

Brandon Ritchie intercepted Chris Lopez on the Hurons’ next drive and four plays later, Nathan Fettes scored on a four-yard run. Garrette Norling added a conversion to put Alcona ahead 30-12 early in the fourth quarter.

Fettes had 18 carries for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Josh Mead added 94 yards on eight carries.

Playing without starting quarterback Quintin Kelly and running back Jacob Malocha, the Hurons gave Alcona a run until they were undone by mistakes in the fourth quarter.

“They’re a well-coached team, they’re very disciplined and they’re supposedly one of the better teams around here,” Rogers City coach Tim Nagy said. “We had a couple shots, we had one called back and couple of times and against a team like this you can’t make too many mistakes and we did.”

Midway through the fourth quarter, a penalty wiped out what would have been a 33-yard touchdown run from Henry. Rogers City got another break later on when Lopez intercepted a pass from Franklin. The momentum swung back to Alcona fast however as Alec Neumann intercepted Lopez two plays into the Hurons’ next drive.

“We just got up in their business. We talked about toughness. We talked about, ‘Lets just get down to what we do,'” Schneider said.

Lopez was 6-of-18 through the air for 150 yards. He added 51 yards on 11 carries and Cam Urban added 54 yards on seven carries.

The beginning of the game was marked by the inability of both teams to hang onto the ball. Rogers City fumbled on the second play of the game and two plays later, Fettes put Alcona on the board with a four-yard touchdown run.

Both teams combined for six fumbles in the first quarter. On Alcona’s next drive, Rogers City recovered on Alcona fumble, but Urban fumbled on the Hurons’ next offensive play.

After Fettes recovered another Huron fumble, Alcona put together a solid drive and Franklin eventually found Norling for a 19-yard touchdown pass. Mead caught a conversion, giving the Tigers a 16-0 lead late in the first quarter.

Backed by a 48-yard kickoff return from Lopez on the ensuing drive, Rogers needed just four plays to get on the board. On 3rd-and-9, Lopez tossed a 14-yard touchdown to Cole Henry.

The Hurons nearly scored again in the final minute of the half, putting together a nice drive that started on their own 23 with 1:02 left. Urban began the drive with a 41-yard run and Lopez later found Ryan for a 20-yard pass to get in the red zone. Alcona’s defense was able to stop the Hurons as time expired.

Defensively, Norling and Fettes led Alcona with nine tackles each.