2017-09-21 / Sports

Mikesell’s late score seals Suttons Bay win

By Jay Bushen
Sports Editor


EVAN ROHRBACK (2), Eric Halvorsen (86), Seth Megill (55) and other Suttons Bay football players make their way off the field on Friday after Halvorsen cemented the team’s 13-12 win over visiting Atlanta with an interception. EVAN ROHRBACK (2), Eric Halvorsen (86), Seth Megill (55) and other Suttons Bay football players make their way off the field on Friday after Halvorsen cemented the team’s 13-12 win over visiting Atlanta with an interception. Lucas Mikesell fired out of the backfield, darted toward the right pylon and looked back to the quarterback. Just as he did, quarterback Evan Rohrback tossed up a 50-50 ball.

Despite cramps, contact from a defender and little real estate to work with, Mikesell made the biggest fourth-down conversion of his young career.

“I couldn’t throw it over the top because a defender was covering him there,” Rohrback said of a slant route on the 12-yard touchdown pass. “I threw it back shoulder hoping he would see it and make the adjustment. He did, and he made a heck of a catch.”

The sophomore tailback kept both feet in bounds with 5:54 remaining for what would be the game-winning touchdown in a 13-12 win over visiting Atlanta on Friday, giving the Suttons Bay football program its third win of the season — its most since 2014.

With five games left to play, the Norsemen (3-1, 2-1 Midwest) are now on the fast track to their first-ever 8-man playoff appearance.

“We knew it was going to be tough with the heat and the opponent, but I just can’t say enough about these guys,” first-year coach Dan Durkin said after the game. “All the way back to last year when they ended the varsity program — you see the resilience these guys have shown on nights like this.

“We finished the way we should have against (Wyoming) Tri-Unity. We didn’t back down after we got down.”

Unlike the 30-21 Week 2 loss to Tri-Unity, Suttons Bay players withstood a fourth-quarter rally (2-2, 1-2 Midwest) and got the job done.

And the Norse did it with many of their two-way starters on the sideline.

Humidity had players like Mikesell and linebacker Eric Halvorsen cramping up for much of the second half.

“They really fought hard through the cramps, and that’s not easy to do,” said Rohrback, who completed 9-of- 19 throws for 181 yards and two touchdowns. “Those things hurt.”

Suttons Bay struck first in the opening stanza on a 63-yard pass from Rohrback to Bryce Opie, but Atlanta cut the Suttons Bay lead to one with 15 seconds left in the third quarter on a 15-yard completion from Austin Corbin to Reece Wood.

Then, with 8:36 remaining, Corbin’s 4-yard completion to Kody Reeves put the visiting Huskies up 12-7.

From there, Durkin decided to put the ball in the hands of Mikesell. Long runs from the sophomore set up the game-winning score on the next drive.

“Congrats to Suttons Bay. They’ve got a darn good football team,” Atlanta coach Troy Cheedie said. “We watched a lot of film and knew that 24 (Mikesell) and 44 (Caleb Smith), they like to run the ball with those guys. We pretty much focused on shutting it down there in the middle. A couple big passes they caught were what hurt us.”

Mikesell finished with 91 rushing yards on 17 carries and 85 yards on three receptions. Opie was the team’s leading receiver, hauling in three Rohrback throws for 86 yards.

Defensively, Halvorsen had a monster game with 17 total tackles, including 1.5 for loss, plus a game-sealing interception late in the fourth quarter.

Michael Loucks made 15 stops. Zach Morton made 12, including 1.5 for loss. Cam Knaub had 11, including 2.5 for loss. Morton and Knaub each recorded one sack, as well.

UP NEXT: Onekama (4-0)

Suttons Bay’s homecoming clash with Onekama should be a dandy.

“We’re going to have to play our best game and our cleanest game of the year next week in order to come out on top,” Durkin said.

Central Lake, Suttons Bay’s Week 6 opponent, and Onekama currently sit atop the Midwest Central Michigan 8-Player standings with 3-0 records in league play. Suttons Bay and Tri- Unity are next with matching 2-1 records.

Onekama hammered a shorthanded Tri-Unity squad 36-8 on Friday.

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