Alcona shuts out Atlanta in 36-0 rout

ATLANTA-The Alcona football team held a slim 8-0 lead over Atlanta in Thursday season opener, but a second-half surge helped propel the Tigers to a 36-0 shutout.

“We just challenged our kids to get mentally tough. Physically we have kids that haven’t played, we have inexperienced boys and you could see them coming of age as the quarters went,” Alcona coach Jason Somers said.

The first quarter was offensively uneventful, though Atlanta quarterback Seth Teets moved the ball well in the air and on his feet.

However, a fumble gave Alcona position of the ball at 5:45. It kept the ball into the second quarter when a 20-yard run by Brock Franklin gave the Tigers a 6-0 lead with 11:15.

Quarterback Brandon Ritchie popped it over to Trevor Joslin to convert the two-point attempt and go up 8-0.

Atlanta’s first chance to score came on the next kickoff when Reece Wood had a great turn along the out-of-bounds line for great field position just past the 40-yard line.

The drive stalled after several incomplete passes and forced a turnover on downs.

The Huskies’ next scoring chance came with 38.4 seconds left in the half when Teets threw to the endzone, but Ritchie snagged an interception to end the half.

“We turned the ball over twice in the red zone and I think if we would have put those in the end zone it would have been a totally different game with totally different momentum,” Atlanta coach Troy Cheedie said.

Ritchie hit two passes for the night for 33 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for 22 yards.

Alcona kept up the-ground-and-pound in the third quarter, with Franklin, Ritchie, Alec Link and Hunter Sullivan creeping up the field little-by-little and converting one first down after another.

Alcona scored its second touchdown of the game when Ritchie hit Sullivan on a 28-yard pass. Link ran in the two-point conversion to make it 16-0 with 9:54 to go in the quarter.

Sullivan had eight carries for 82 yards and two touchdowns.

Bad luck struck the Huskies when Alcona recovered a fumble on the kick-off and drove it down the field for a touchdown. The key moment of the drive came in a break-away 27-yard run by Franklin.

Franklin led Alcona on the ground with 17 carries for 96 yards and one touchdown.

The Tigers didn’t convert the extra point and went up 22-0 with 7 minutes left in the quarter.

Atlanta relied heavily on Teets as a passer and runner. He ran 14 times for 98 yards and completed 12 passes for 116 yards. His favored receiver was Jay Webster, who caught five passes for 84 yards.

“Teets is the leader of the team and he stepped up and he played a good game. I expect him to do more of that this season,” Cheedie said.

Teets was helped on the ground by rusher Mark Durocher who had nine carries for 23 yards.

The end of the third quarter saw even more bad luck for the Huskies when receiver Kyle Klein was carried off the field and was left out of the game. The Huskies didn’t convert a first down for the rest of the game.

Alcona scored on its second drive of the quarter when Sullivan broke out for a 50-yard touchdown with 5:45 left in the game to go up 28-0.

The Huskies punted after four with 5:23 left in the game. Boone Bouchard then ran back a 30-yard touchdown with 5:15 left in the game. Jesse Collins converted the two-point to give the Tigers a final 36-0 victory.

Bouchard had 11 carries for 66 yards and one touchdown.

“They really got on the execution in the fourth quarter. We struggled a little bit in the second and third and they finally got on their execution and once they started executing, they were pretty tough,” Somers said.

Atlanta hosts Harbor Springs next Friday while Alcona plays Au Gres.

Eric Benac can be reached via email at ebenac@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.