Jets finish undefeated after grounding Eagles
LAKE TOWNSHIP — Behind five total touchdowns — four rushing — from sophomore quarterback Luke Gorzinski, North Central completed an undefeated regular season as they rolled past Stephenson 50-8 Saturday in Stephenson.
Gorzinski scored on a 62-yard run on the first play from scrimmage, a 4-yard run a little over five minutes later and a 64-yard run with a minute left in the first stanza to accumulate a 22-0 lead by the end of the quarter. The Jets never looked back.
Gorzinski added a touchdown pass to cousin Ian Gorzinski and ran in an 8-yard TD for the Jets to take a 36-0 advantage into the half. For the remainder of the game, the running clock rule was in effect.
The Jets offensive attack was very balanced. As the weather gets colder and potentially wet, that’s an essential thing, in an eight or 11-player competition. NC head coach Leo Gorzinski emphasized blocking as a key to both.
“I want to give credit to the guys up front, our lineman. The work that they did over the summer,” said coach Gorzinski. “Our playoff loss to Pickford at home last season really motivated them to work harder and get their timing down better.”
Coach Gorzinski also credited Carter Eichmeier and Fabian Chartier for their season-long technique.
“Those two have made our running game so much better, and I want to credit them both,” he said.
The Jets, who played five games and received a forfeit win from Lake Linden, will host winless Engadine in a first-round playoff game at Powers. The date and time are to be determined.
The Eagles played hard and didn’t give up even with the running clock in the second half.
“Our season has been up and down. The last three weeks, we got off to slow starts, and it really hurt us — today as well,” said Stephenson head coach Logan Carlson. “We shot ourselves in the foot, and North Central is too good of a team for that to happen.”
Carlson emphasized that despite three straight losses, his players didn’t give up and kept playing until the end of each game.
“If we’re going to go anywhere in the postseason, we need to get better and clean up or mistakes,” he said.
Stephenson, who falls to (3-3) on the season, also qualified for the MHSAA football playoffs as they travel to Pickford on Thursday. The Eagles are in Division 1 of the 8-player playoffs, while the Jets are in Division 2.
A third straight undefeated regular season is something the Jets can hang their helmets on. The Jets as — a team — are very tight-knit, coach Gorzinski noted.
“We been able to field some really talented players here at North Central,” coach Gorzinski said. “This particular group of kids is really hungry. They want to succeed. We worked to get away from having to rely so much on our passing game. Our shortened season had its ups and downs, but we’re happy to be playing in times like this.”
North Central 22 14 6 8 — 50
Stephenson 0 0 0 8 — 8