Eskymos unable to snap skid
ESCANABA — The Escanaba Eskymos made a game of it in the first half here Friday night.
Second-ranked Kingsford didn’t allow that to continue in the second half, however, as it handed Esky a 44-7 homecoming football loss.
The victory enabled the Flivvers to improve to 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the Great Northern Conference. Esky is 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the GNC after its fourth straight loss.
Junior Casey Bray gave the Eskymos a 7-3 lead on a quarterback sneak with four minutes, 35 seconds left in the second quarter.
Esky’s lone score was set up two plays earlier on a high snap from center, which gave the Eskymos possession on the Kingsford eight-yard line.
Kingsford then scored twice in the final 1:58 of the first half, taking a 9-7 lead on senior Diego Przeslakowski’s 12-yard run off left tackle and making it 16-7 on senior Mike Meneguzzo’s 31-yard pass to junior wide receiver Nic Nora 44 seconds before the intermission.
“I think the turning point was the score right before the half,” said Kingsford coach Mark Novara. “We started to put a little more pressure on them. We have to give Escanaba credit. I think they had a great game plan. They ran the ball on us and kept our offense on the sideline. They had the ball heck of a lot longer than we did in the first half.”
Kingsford’s second touchdown was set up on a short punt which gave it possession at the Esky 31.
The Flivvers ran seven plays during their first possession, taking a 3-0 lead on Przeslakowski’s 42-yard field goal, which bounced off the right side of the goalpost and through the upright.
“Diego’s heck of a kicker,” said Novara. “It was important to get points on our first possession. This is an important win for us. This puts us in better position for making the playoffs.”
Przeslakowski’s kickoffs consistency went beyond the end zone, eliminating the possibility of Esky returning any of those.
Kingsford extended its lead to 23-7 on Meneguzzo’s 16-yard pass to tight end Lucca Rizzo midway through the third frame and made it 30-7 on senior Michael Bird’s three-yard run up the middle at 3:10.
Junior Cole Myllyla added a 44-yard touchdown dash around left end with 1:08 remaining in the third, and junior Ayden Geronimi concluded the scoring on a nine-yard run off left tackle with 8:22 left in the game.
“Our kids played very hard for a half,” said Esky coach Dave Wilson. “We just haven’t put together a four-quarter game this year, at least not in the last four weeks. Kingsford’s level of play went up, and quite honestly our level of play went down in the second half. We’ve got to get our guys to play four quarters of football and believe in themselves.”
Kingsford finished with 263 yards in total offense, with Meneguzzo completing 9-of-17 passes for 119 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Three of his aerials went to Nora for 49. senior wide receiver Zach Person caught two for 42.
“I thought our quarterback threw well,” said Novara. “Nic and Zach have been our leading receivers. Our tight end (Rizzo) hasn’t caught a lot of passes yet, but we’re trying to get him more involved in our offense.”
Esky had 180 yards in total offense. Senior Karson Krutina ran 17 times for 69, and sophomore Ben Johnson added 55 on eight carries. Bray was 8-of-17 passing for 44 yards and three interceptions.
“We don’t sustain our drives,” said Wilson. “We’re striving for more consistency. We told the kids you’re never out of anything in life unless you stop trying, and we’re going to keep trying.”
The Eskymos travel to Menominee for their final GNC game Friday. The Flivvers host Luxemburg-Casco, Wis. Friday.