SAULT STE. MARIE - Gladstone fell behind early and couldn't contain Sault Ste. Marie fullback Kyle Root Friday night.
Root ran for 156 yards on 22 carries and scored four touchdowns for the Blue Devils, who beat the Braves 49-19 at VanCitters Field.
The Blue Devils scored on all five on their first half possessions and led 34-6 at intermission.
Mike McKee/Sault Evening News
Gladstone quarterback Sam Pouliot (3) scrambles away from Sault Ste. Marie defenders Nathan LaJoie (50) and Alex Moscatello (70) during Friday night's football game.
Justin Jurek scored on a 7-yard run in the second quarter to account for the Braves only points of the half.
"We didn't show up to play football and they did," Gladstone coach Josh Mileski said. "They pounded us pretty good in that first half.
"Give the Sault credit. I know they've had a couple tough years but it looks like coach (Scott) Menard is turning it around."
The Blue Devils controlled the football, mostly with their running game, and finished with 395 yards rushing. Justin DeLisle added 111 yards on eight carries and one TD. Sault quarterback Michael James was 3-for-3 passing for 57 yards and threw a 13-yard TD pass to Ray'Shon Anderson. James and Ben Formolo also both ran for one TD apiece.
Root, a 6-foot-1, 215 pound senior, started the season at halfback, but was switched to fullback two games ago.
The Blue Devils capped their near-perfect first half by scoring with 14.3 seconds left in the second quarter on a hook-and-lateral. James passed 8 yards to Ray'Shon Anderson, who lateralled to Root. Root streaked down the sidelines 42 yards to the end zone, breaking several tackles along the way.
"Since we moved Root to fullback everything has been clicking for us," Sault High coach Scott Menard said. "He's running down hill all the time, and has been the catalyst for our offense. It has allowed our other guys to do so much more. Everything is going well for us right now."
After falling behind 42-6, the Braves added two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Pouliot scored on a 5-yard run and Riley Ballard added a 30-yard TD run.
Sam Pouliot was 10-of-17 passing for 160 yards. Riley Ballard led the Braves rushing attack with 67 yards rushing on 11 carries. Justin Pederson caught four passes for 76 yards.
"We have to keep working to get better, that's all we can do," Mileski said. "We're learning how to play football the way it supposed to be played, with a physical, tough mentality. I still think we have potential, but at a certain point talk is cheap."
After starting 1-2, Sault High has won three straight.
"We have some seniors who were brought up as sophomores and they got crunched for a couple years," Menard said. "Now that we're turning it around, the enthusiasm is really coming back. The seniors are enjoying the taste of success and the rest of the team is feeding off it."