CHEBOYGAN –The Grayling defense played lights out and David Millikin rushed for three touchdowns and caught a TD pass as the Vikings pounded Cheboygan 41-6 in a Northern Michigan Football Conference-Leaders football game.
After three consecutive losses, the Grayling football team was anxious to stop the bleeding and return to the victory column with the Michigan High School playoffs just two weeks away.
Granted, the Chiefs (0-4) are not close to the same caliber as the three teams Grayling lost to leading up to this game. However, the Vikings recognized had full respect for the Chiefs coming in.
Grayling coach Eric Tunney was just pleased with the way the Vikings executed and finished the game to improve their record to 2-3 with one game left in the regular season.
“It was good to get one back in the win column,” Tunney added. “Defensively, I was very proud of our efforts. From the first series and throughout the night we took it to them and didn’t let up.
“For the most part, everyone was in the right positions and good things happen when we do that. Offensively, it was truly a team effort. We had a lot of guys make plays and did a lot of things well.”
Grayling jumped on the Chiefs for a 13-0 lead in the first quarter when Ventline threw a pair of touchdown passes, a 24-yarder to Dylan Cragg to start things off and then he hooked up with David Millikin on a 47-yarder.
The Vikings scored two more touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 26-0 lead at the half. Millikin busted through for a 31-yard run and the Ventline-to-Cragg duo clicked again for a 21-yard scoring pass.
Millikin broke off a 74-yard scoring run to extend the Vikings’ lead to 33-0 before the Chiefs spoiled the shutout bid with a three-yard run to make it 33-6 going into the fourth quarter. Millikin ended the scoring with a 14-yard run.
“Hunter threw some nice balls, and our receivers made some big time plays,” Tunney said. “Milli cut loose on a few as well and it’s great to see as we will need that balanced attack. We still have a lot of little things to clean up.
“Someone once told me that once you watch film it’s never as bad as you think, or it’s never as good as you think. But we will take this one. We needed it. Like I’ve said, I love the way our kids fight. Watching them, you wouldn’t know whether they were 4-0 or 0-4. They give their best effort every play, and as a coach you can’t ask for much more than that.
“We got Dylan Cragg involved, too,” Tunney said. “He had two touchdowns, his first two of the year. That was good. He’s a great athlete. We got to work a little two-minute offense.
“Got to try out some things. Got some guys involved that we haven’t been able to a whole lot. So, it was great. Hunter had a good game. The ‘O’ line did pretty well as well. We cleaned up some things, and we’re still cleaning things up every week. Three of the kids, this is their first year of varsity football. They’re still learning. You can see the gears start to click together.”
Ventline finished the game 9 for 13 passing for 158 yards and three scores. Cragg had five catches for 68 yards and two TD’s, while Drew Kanary hauled in four passes for 52 yards.
Kanary led the defensive charge with 10 tackles, six solos and three tackles for losses. Millikin had five solo stops and seven assists, two tackles for loss and one forced fumble. Reid Cvitovich was in on eight tackles, four solos and four assists. Ventline made three solo hits and three assists, with a sack and a forced fumble.
Grayling closes out the regular season Friday at Ogemaw Heights.
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