Alcona marches on
LINCOLN-The Alcona Tigers can’t stop making history this year:
Not only did the Tigers have the first undefeated varsity football team in school history this season, but they became the first varsity football team to win a playoff game, with a 38-28 win over McBain on Friday in a Division 7 predistrict game.
“In terms of the gratification that comes with something like this, it’s almost unspeakable. It’s hard to put into words what 10-0 means,” Alcona coach Dave Schneider said.
Alcona hosts Lake City for the district finals next Saturday at 1 p.m.
Alcona (10-0) trailed several times, including 22-16 at halftime, but utilized a few late stops to slow down McBain (5-5).
Perhaps the key moment to the game was Alcona’s first drive in the second half. Garette Norling started the half with a five yard run, but Josh Mead ran for 40 yards and then found the endzone from 16 yards out to tie the game at 22.
Mead led Alcona with 125 rushing yards and two touchdowns, one receiving and one rushing. Norling had 80 carries and one rushing touchdown.
McBain started moving the ball down the field on the answering drive and Seth Barnette picked up a crucial three-yard fourth down conversion with 8:13 left in the quarter.
Barnette had 47 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Jordan Vanderhoef had a one-yard touchdown and one touchdown pass.
That conversion was critical, as it set up a 13-yard pass on 3rd-and-8 to Zach Stephan that set up an eight-yard touchdown run, which gave McBain its last lead of the game with 5:48 left in the quarter.
Alcona drove down the field again and Cody Franklin tied the game at 28 with a 14-yard touchdown run. Mead caught the conversion to give Alcona the lead.
Franklin had 94 rushing yards, picked up one rushing touchdown and threw one touchdown. Nathan Fettes added 28 rushing yards.
McBain never really got much offensive momentum going after falling behind and turned the ball over on downs after a sack with 9:51 left to play.
Alcona iced the game with an eight-yard touchdown run and conversion from Norling with 2:21 to go. Dawson Forsythe had given the Tigers good field position with a fourth-down sack on McBain’s previous drive.
The first half wasn’t so heavily dominated by the Tigers. The Ramblers struck first off a one-yard touchdown run by Stephan with 7:45 left in the first quarter and added a conversion for an 8-0 lead.
Stephan 117 yards for the night and one touchdown.
“They come out and they drive down the length of the field, they score and they go up 8-0 and its gut check time. The first half we made a couple of mistakes, a couple of obvious mistakes where we can’t give up passes like that, kids tripping, but we came back in the second,” Schneider said.
Alcona answered back three minutes later with a 14-yard Norling touchdown run and Franklin ran in the conversion.
McBain scored again with 8:38 left in the half with a one-yard run by Barnette to pull ahead 14-8.
The Tigers took a 16-14 lead two minutes later with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Franklin to Mead and the conversion.
The Ramblers stuck with Stephan on the ground for the rest of the half, moving slowly down the field. The Tigers slowed them down, but fell victim to a successful 4th-and-8 Ramblers’ conversion.
That conversion set up a 15-yard touchdown pass to Kenneth Vanderboss with 35 seconds left in the half. With the conversion, McBain took a 22-16 lead into halftime that Alcona did not leave standing for very long.
“I think the defensive coaches and the players made good adjustments in the second half. Terry did a good job of calling stunts and getting kids in the right position and the linebackers moving so they’re just not getting blocked and we were getting the tackles when we needed to,” Schneider said.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.