Boys Varsity Football
Game Summaries & Headlines.
Port Huron Northern defeats Lake Shore, 28-18
Joseph Hayes, Port Huron Times HeraldPublished 5:20 p.m. ET Oct. 27, 2018 | Updated 6:03 p.m. ET Oct. 27, 2018
It was easy to see early on Friday night at Memorial Stadium that St. Clair Shores Lake Shore would try nearly everything it could to defeat Port Huron Northern.
On Lake Shore's first three drives, they went for it on fourth down on their own side of the field. After every score, they attempted a two-point conversion. And for a moment, they had the momentum over Port Huron Northern.
But everything Lake Shore worked to achieve in the first half, including an 18-13 lead, was all undone with a dominant third quarter from Port Huron Northern.
The Huskies rattled off 15 consecutive points in the quarter and then held Lake Shore scoreless the rest of the game, defeating Lake Shore, 28-18, in a Division 2 playoff game at Memorial Stadium.
Northern defense rebounds
Throughout the regular season, Port Huron Northern owned one of the stingiest defenses you could find. The Huskies have plenty of power and speed on the unit, and there haven't been many games where they couldn't keep an offense in check.
Friday night, however, the Huskies struggled with the Shorians' impressive passing attack. In the first half, Lake Shore had 164 yards passing. They went up and down the field in shocking fashion, connecting on big, timely plays. But something changed at halftime. Port Huron Northern adjusted and began taking away Lake Shore's bread and butter plays. After a few drops, Lake Shore was out of rhythm and then Northern's offense took over.
"We got coached up at halftime and the defense did a great job with adjustments," Northern quarterback Seth Klink said. "We came out and wanted to dominate. We were running the ball in the third quarter and we want to be more conditioned than every team we face."
McGregor impacts game
The Huskies continue to use junior Braiden McGregor all over the field. It's impressive to watch a player listed as a defensive lineman also play safety, middle linebacker, tight end and in some cases even split outside as a wide receiver.
"It's special to have a kid that is athletic enough to play physical at linebacker and also dominate the line of scrimmage," Port Huron Northern coach Larry Roelens said. "He's a special talent. A generational talent you get. He did a phenomenal job, as did all of the kids on defense."
This amazing versatility is why McGregor continues to pick up offers from high level Division 1 programs across the nation. During one stretch of the third quarter, he batted down three passes as a defensive end. Then he dropped back into the secondary to cover the deep half of the field. What can't McGregor do? His growth is one of the biggest stories surrounding the program and it's hard not to be impressed by his maturity.
He entered the season with plenty of pressure surrounding him after picking up offers from Notre Dame and the University of Michigan. But it appears McGregor is exactly what scouts say he is — a Division 1 prospect who could one day play on Sunday's. He's really that type of athlete.
Ellis Jr., Powell sizzle
Port Huron Northern appears talented and deep everywhere. But it's hard to overlook the contributions of players like Maurice Powell and Theo Ellis Jr. Powell has become one of the top football players in the area as a defensive end and continues to be a force against the run and on key downs rushing the passer. He had yet another key sack late in the game, after taking on double teams to stop the run and slow the Shorians ground attack.
Ellis Jr. meanwhile had two carries for four yards late in the first half, before dramatically increasing his production in the second half. He finished the game with 23 carries for 146 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown run. Northern quarterback Seth Klink completed 7 of 18 passes for 116 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
"We just had to relax and play football," Roelens said. "We stuck to the course and played football."
Klink also had a few heady first half runs on key downs. Port Huron Northern allowed 163 yards through the air in the first half, which allowed Lake Shore to score 18 points.
That was the highest total of points the Huskies gave up in a game all season. But in the second half, Northern shut the door and allowed only 14 yards through the air, which led to Northern shutting out Lake Shore the remainder of the game.
For the second consecutive week, Port Huron Northern will face a team in the playoffs that it defeated in the regular season. St. Clair Shores Lakeview (7-3) is up next, for a rematch of its 26-15 loss during Week 3 of the regular season.
Northern will be at home once again Friday night and will enter the Division 2 district final winners of eight consecutive games.
"Our defensive staff did a great job adjusting and you have to give Lake Shore credit too, they converted five or six fourth downs. The defensive adjustment was huge for us and then just believing. We were down a little bit but have been here before. The biggest thing with us is keep our composure."