ST. IGNACE When the Powers-North Central Jets received the opening kickoff on Friday night, they moved the ball down the field like a team on a mission. The Jets threw the ball 10 times in 13 plays and had the St. Ignace defense on its heels. From that point on though, nothing went the way of the Jets and their season ended with a 62-0 loss at the hands of the Saints in their Division-8 pre-district contest.
"We tried to spread it out and throw the football a little bit," said Jets coach Kevin Bellefeuil. "We tried to loosen them up a little bit and make the field wide. And it worked on that first drive. Then we had a penalty and then an interception on the next drive and then the wheels really started to come off."
When the Saints finally got their hands on the ball, they wasted little time in putting it in the end-zone in just two plays and went on top 7-0 with 7:44 left in the first quarter.
Scott Church photo
North Central receiver Devin Woodrazka tries to haul in a catch from quarterback Rob Granquist that sails over his head in the first quarter against St. Ignace in a Division-8 district playoff game Friday night at St. Ignace.
"We just couldn't match their experience tonight," Bellefeuil said. "They have 17 seniors and we have three. We are a really young team and while that's going to serve us well in the future, it sure didn't tonight."
St. Ignace used some of that experience on the Jets' next possession. After forcing a three-and-out series, the Saints' Curtis St. Louis fielded a punt and galloped 53 yards at the 7:16 mark to put St. Ignace up 15-0 after a successful 2-point conversion."
Things got worse for the Jets on their next two series as quarterback Rob Granquist was picked off by Zach Harrington, who returned the interception 35 yards for a score and a 22-0 lead.
Granquist would struggle all night as the Saints changed defenses and were able to get pressure on the sophomore signal caller, forcing him out of the pocket and had him running for his life.
"We went to an umbrella defense after that first series," said St. Ignace coach Marty Spencer. "They really moved the ball on us on that first series and we knew we were going to have to do something different. He throws the ball really well and we were giving him too much time. I would bet that you'll see them go to a spread offense with that kid next year and be throwing it all over the place."
Harrington finished 13-of-38 yards on the night and threw for 155 yards with two interceptions.
The struggles of Harrington were not the only reason for the loss however. When the Jets were forced to punt on the series following the interception, St. Louis struck again for the Saints. A fake reverse put St. Louis racing to the sideline with a Jet player trying to get the angle to knock him out of bounds. A missed tackle later, and St. Louis was in the end-zone again with his second touchdown return of the first quarter, which was good for a 29-0 lead.
"That was a combination of things," Bellefeuil said of the touchdown returns. "St. Louis is a really good player, and we had a couple guys get double-teamed on blocks. If they double-team, it means someone is unblocked and that someone has got to make a play and that didn't happen on either of those two returns.
As the game progressed, it became obvious that the Jets were not going to be able to mount a comeback, but to their credit, the North Central players played every down to the whistle and were close to punching one into the end-zone as the clock ran out.
Josh Granquist led the Jets rushing attack with 49 yards on six carries, while Devin Woodrazka ran seven times for 23 yards. The leading receiver for North Central was Travis Vincent who had five catches for 64 yards. Josh Granquist also caught five balls, tallying 62 yards.
"This has been a great experience for these kids," Bellefeuil said. "We'll be able to use this to build on."
The season ends for the Jets with a 5-5 record.