By GREG GIELCZYK
GRAYLING — Instead of bouncing back from the previous week’s loss to a wounded Traverse City St. Francis, which came in stinging from a shocking defeat in its opener, Grayling’s football team now is hoping to turn the season around after dropping a 41-28 loss to Benzie Central last Friday.
Usually, scoring 28 points should be enough to put you into the win column. But, the Huskies (2-1 overall and in the Northern Michigan Football League-Legends) put their high octane offense on display and proved to be rude guests in dealing the Vikings (1-2) their second straight loss after a season opening win over Kalkaska.
“It certainly wasn’t the outcome we wanted,” Grayling coach Eric Tunney wrote in an email. “We did some things well, but just couldn’t make plays when we needed to.
“Their running back and quarterback are very talented and gave us fits out in the open field. If you make little mistakes against good players, they will expose you, and that’s what we did.”
Benzie quarterback Ike Koscielski completed 7 of 11 passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns. He also shredded the Viking defense for 160 rushing yards and two TDs.
Grayling had trouble containing Husky running back Sam Ross, who finished the night with 181 yards rushing on 34 carries with three touchdowns rushing.
The Vikings produced some impressive offensive numbers themselves, but they were plagued by turnovers and other mistakes which negated many of their gains.
“We had some success offensively, but still left a lot of yards and points out there,” wrote Tunney. “We have to limit turnovers and mental mistakes, including penalties.”
Viking quarterback Hunter Ventline was 10 of 27 passing for 83 yards and a score, and David Millikin rushed for 203 yards on 14 carries with three rushing touchdowns.
Drew Kanary lead the Viking receivers with five catches for 53 yards and a TD.
He was also the defensive standout with eight solo tackles and three assists for 11 stops in all with seven tackles for loss and a sack. Millikin was in on 17 tackles (seven solo, 10 assists) with four for loss. Jordan Wakeley had nine tackles (six solo hits), one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Anthony Fisher also was in on nine tackles (six solo, three assists) and had one fumble recovery.
Grayling faces another stiff challenge this coming Friday when the Vikings host the Kingsley Stags, who turned back St. Francis, 36-23 in the Northern Michigan Football League-Legends last Friday to improve to 3-0.
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