Esky ‘D’ stops Loyola
ESCANABA — The Escanaba Eskymos stood tall on defense at crunch time Saturday as they hung on for a 27-24 football victory over the Detroit Loyola Bulldogs.
Loyola had the ball on the Esky 29-yard line in the final minute of this non-conference contest, but senior lineman Joe Jacobson then sacked senior quarterback Marcus Lee for an 11-yard loss with 25 seconds remaining.
“Joe does a great job for us,” said Esky coach Dave Howes. “He never gives up on plays. Overall, I thought our guys did a great job on defense.”
Lee attempted a pass on Loyola’s final play, but it fell incomplete, enabling Esky to run out the clock.
Saturday’s finish was similar to a 15-14 triumph over Petoskey Aug. 31, when Esky’s defense kept the Northmen out of the end zone after they reached the 10-yard line in the final minute.
Esky scored Saturday’s game-winner on senior Craig Kamin’s 25-yard pass to senior wide receiver Christer Carne with 4 1/2 minutes left to play.
It was Carne who ran 75 yards to beat Petoskey a week earlier.
The Eskymos, who dropped a 30-21 decision in their opener at Alpena, are 2-1.
“I think the close games helped us,” said Howes. “Last weekend we built some confidence. This weekend we wanted to keep the momentum going. Just like last week, it was a playoff-like atmosphere. They’re very fast in the backfield and big up front, but we came to hit. We played very physical and aggressive. I’m proud of the kids. They never gave up. For how physical the game was, we came out healthy.”
Sophomore Marquise Henderson provided an example of Loyola’s speed, showing a quick first step on a 15-yard burst up the middle for a 24-20 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Esky trailed 16-7 at halftime, but climbed within six points on Kamin’s 12-yard pass to the right to senior Jared Nash with 5:24 left in the third stanza.
The Eskymos, taking advantage of a short field, grabbed their first lead (20-16) on the last play of the third when senior running back Isaac Cooper broke off right tackle on a 10-yard run.
Cooper’s TD finished a drive which started on the Loyola 30 following a high snap from center.
“The kids were a little down at halftime,” said Howes. “We told them to trust the process and in what we were doing. We told them ‘we’ll make the adjustments and you make the plays.’ The plays were there in the first half, only we didn’t make those. Although, I thought we did a pretty good job gaining the edge in time of possession and taking care of the ball.”
Esky got its hands on the ball first when the opening kickoff bounced off a Loyola player. The Eskymos, however, had trouble moving the ball against Loyola’s stout defense and were forced to punt.
The Bulldogs (2-1) then needed just three plays to find the end zone, taking an 8-0 lead on a 68-yard dash around right end by senior D’Vaun Bentley.
Esky trimmed its deficit to 8-7 on senior Noah Tourangeau’s one-yard run up the middle with 1:48 left in the opening frame.
Loyola extended its lead to 16-7 with 1:43 remaining in the second on a 32-yard dash around left end by Henderson.
Esky held a 185-177 edge in total offense. Kamin was 8-of-19 passing for 116 yards. Cooper ran 12 times for 57.
“They (Esky) played well,” said Loyola coach John Callahan. “They have a great quarterback. We knew what he could do. We have to play better to get to their level. To win a game like this you can’t have turnovers and mistakes.”
Bentley led Loyola’s ground game with 84 yards on 13 carries. Henderson added 72 yards in five attempts. Lee was 2-of-7 passing for 36 yards.
Esky travels to Marquette for its Great Northern Conference opener Friday.
Det. Loyola 8 8 0 8 — 24
Escanaba 7 0 13 7 — 27
DL — Bentley, 68-yard run (Bentley run), 7:11
E — Tourangeau, 1-yard run (Miron kick), 1:48
DL — Henderson, 32-yard run (Bentley run), 1:43
E — Kamin, 12-yard pass to Nash (kick failed), 5:24
E — Cooper, 10-yard run (Miron kick), 1:43
DL — Henderson, 15-yard run (Henderson run), 9:17
E — Kamin, 25-yard pass to Carne (Miron kick), 4:30
Total offense — Escanaba 185 yards (69 rushing, 116 passing); Loyola 177 yards (141 rushing, 36 passing).
Rushing — Escanaba (Cooper 12-57, Carne 8-16, Tourangeau 2-1, Kamin 8-minus-4); Loyola (Bentley 13-84, Henderson 5-72, Moore 10-44, Green 1-minus-2, Lee 6-minus-57).
Passing — Escanaba (Kamin 8-19); Loyola (Lee 2-7).
Receiving — Escanaba (Nash 6-83, Carne 1-25, Lynch 1-8); Loyola (Henderson 1-28, Green 1-8).