Sparkling Esky ignites fireworks
ESCANABA — Fireworks were the story of Escanaba’s 39-27 win over Kingsford here Friday in a regular season football finale. The Eskymos and Flivvers combined for 54 first half points in the Great Northern Conference outing.
Kingsford struck first on a 60-yard touchdown run by Luke Terrian on the game’s opening play. The Eskymos followed that up on a 78-yard touchdown run by quarterback Craig Kamin, on their second play. The teams traded scores again, as Trevor Povolo answered on a 25-yard touchdown run before Kamin found Christer Carne on a 71-yard touchdown toss to knot the score at 14.
The second quarter provided more explosive, unorthodox plays.
Esky kicker Ethan Silverstone found Jared Nash on an 11-yard pass play that was designed as a fake field goal. Shortly after, Povolo found the end zone again on a 25-yard run to put the Flivvers back ahead, 21-20.
After Isaac Cooper ran for a touchdown from eight yards out, Brett Guindon picked off a pass and returned it 33 yards to set the Eskymos up at the Flivvers’ 10-yard line. Kingsford forced a stop and the Eskymos lined up for a field goal. The snap was high and got away before Silverstone scooped up the loose ball and threw it from near the 15-yard line to Grant LaMarche for a touchdown to make it 33-21 at the half.
“That was just a kid making a play,” Esky coach Dave Howes said. “That was a huge play for us.”
After an incredible fireworks display during the intermission, the Flivvers came out of the locker room with some momentum but the Eskymos forced a fumble by Povolo in Esky territory that was recovered by Nicklas Shanahan.
Escanaba milked the clock on the next drive, burning up nearly eight minutes before turning the ball over on downs deep in Flivver’s territory.
“We knew what to expect going against them,” Howes said. “They’re a physical team and we matched their physicality. We wanted to milk the clock in the second half to keep their explosive offense off the field.”
Kamin sealed the win for the Eskymos on a 39-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter to make it 39-21. The Flivvers added a late touchdown on a seven-yard run by Povolo.
Howes was happy with how his team won the turnover battle.
“We took care of the ball and were able to force a few turnovers,” he said. “It’s always good to have a good turnover ratio.”
Kamin had a huge night, running 17 times for 173 yards and two scores. He also was 7-of-17 passing for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
“He (Kamin) is a special player,” Howes said. “I’m making a push for him to be the U.P. player of the year.”
Cooper finished with 55 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Josh Bruntjens had 42 yards on 11 carries.
Carne led the Eskymos in receiving, catching two balls for 79 yards and a score. Nash caught two passes for 28 yards and a touchdown.
As for the Flivvers, coach Chris Hofer thought his team came out flat early.
“We weren’t ready to play in the first half,” Hofer said. “We settled down a little bit in the second half but we had already lost the upper hand by that point. They had a fumbled snap (on the field goal) that we allowed to turn into a touchdown.
“Then we fumbled early in the second half when we were moving the ball at will.”
Terrian ran for 153 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown. He finished 7-19 passing for 72 yards and two interceptions.
Povolo ran for 128 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown. He also caught four passes for 41 yards. Tyler Beauchamp caught three passes for 21 yards.
Silverstone, who converted two place kicks, was 2-of-2 passing out of kick formation. He served as Kamin’s replacement earlier this season when the Esky starting quarterback was nursing injuries.
Sophomore Tyler Lawson picked off a pass by Terrian to end the first half, returning the theft to near midfield.
The Eskymos (7-2) now wait for Sunday’s announcement on Fox Detroit Sports to see who they face in the playoffs.
“Hopefully we’re at home,” Howes said. “Our guys are just going to continue to strive to win.”
The Flivvers finished 4-5 and likely will not make the playoffs.
The fireworks continued after the game when the Eskymos discovered they landed a share of the GNC title when Menominee surprised Marquette 32-14. Esky and Marquette are 3-1.