Norsemen suffer more than defeat in football opener
The Norsemen were swamped, 37-0, at Evart on Friday. Their next three opponents won their openers by an average of 27 points.
Suttons Bay will likely have to play them without senior quarterback Sean Lammy, who suffered a concussion and a severe sprain — at best — to his throwing shoulder on the same play against Evart.
And Suttons Bay was holding its own at the time, down 7-0 early in the second quarter. The Norse, who started three sophomores on the line of scrimmage, were outmanned in the trenches but had avoided making serious mistakes.
An interception followed Lammy’s exit from the game, that was run back to the Suttons Bay 1-yard line before getting punched in. Evart followed with another touchdown with three minutes left in the half to up its advantage to 21-0.
“Right after Sean went down, the wind went out of our sails,” said Suttons Bay coach Joe Trudeau, who said the team statistician did not attend the contest. Consequently, game stats won’t be available until taken from the film.
“They played them fairly tough early,” Trudeau said. “It may have been a fairly decent game, but our demeanor changed a bit.
“Then we got tired; almost everyone is going both ways.”
Lammy is out indefinitely, Trudeau said.
“He is in a sling, and has a concussion,” he said. “So he’s out for I don’t know how long; I’m sure it will be weeks.”
Trudeau estimated that right linebacker Shocko Shawandase “probably had 12 tackles. He had a good game on defense.” Norsemen Matt Pigg intercepted a pass and returned it 15 yards.
But no Suttons Bay drives managed to pierce the Evart 40-yard line; its offense managed just four first downs.
Now about that upcoming schedule.
Suttons Bay is scheduled to play at Kalkaska at 7 p.m. today in a rare Thursday evening contest. The Norse have never lost to the Blue Blazers in the series, and squeaked out a 20-18 win in 2011 for one of its two wins of the season.
But the Blazers pounded Pine River in their opener, 31-6, and boast two powerful and speedy backs in quarterback-turned-runner Zach Hill and junior Caleb Hauser.
“I would say their two running backs with the exception of the (allstate Tristan) Eickenroth kid from Kingsley are as good as any in the area,” Trudeau said. “They’re quick, shifty guys, and very difficult to tackle.
“When either of those two kids get in the open field, there aren’t many high school kids who can take them down.”
The Norsemen are scheduled to take on Glen Lake, a 47-7 winner at East Jordan, in week three. And Kingsley, which last week dominated Traverse City St. Francis, 18-0, despite the loss of Eickenroth to a broken arm, is waiting in week four.
Suttons Bay replacement quarterback Casey Cross, a junior, settled in after the loss of Lammy — and might have done better if given time to make decisions before the Evart line converged in the Norsemen back field.
So what is Trudeau telling his team?
“I tell them they’ve got to get better. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us,” Trudeau said. “We had a pretty good run in dominating our conference until last year, finishing first or second for eight years in a row.
“Kalkaska has never beaten us, so they’re licking their chops saying this is the year.”