The Hemlock high school varsity football team gave visiting Saginaw Nouvel Catholic Central quite an introduction to Tri Valley Conference 'ground-and-pound' football, running all over the Panthers en route to a 47-12 TVC West victory at Wallace stadium in Hemlock, MI tonight.
Nouvel, playing without senior starting quarterback Michael Ehlman who was in a severe car accident earlier in the week, managed to move the ball pretty well behind sophomore quarterback Brady Alverson on its first drive, marching down to the Hemlock 28 yard line, however, the Huskies' stout defense tightened up and would take over on downs.
Hemlock junior quarterback Brady Devereaux and senior running back Logan Peters went to work, picking up positive rushing yards behind a strong offensive line, led by 6-foot-5, 305-pound senior offensive tackle Jacob Esckilsen, marching the ball deep into Nouvel territory, before Devereaux broke through the goal line with a 4-yard rushing touchdown, but Hemlock senior kicker Jonas Kanouse missed the extra point kick, as the Huskies jumped out to a 6-0 lead with 4:11 left in the opening quarter.
The Panthers advanced the ensuing kick to near midfield thanks to a nice return by junior Zaiden Mitchell, which was followed by a pair of nice runs by NCC senior running back Josh Kuligowski, taking the ball down to the Hemlock 35-yard line, where Alverson's third down pass was intercepted by Kanouse at the Hemlock 20 and returned 63 yards down to the NCC 27-yard line, which led to another 4-yard rushing TD by Devereaux, while Kanouse connected on the extra point kick, giving the Huskies a 13-0 lead with :31 seconds left in the first quarter.
After a Panther three-and-out, Nouvel's punt was fielded near mid-field and returned 26 yards by Hemlock junior Aaryn Sylvester, who took it down to the Panther 25-yard line, where Devereaux, on the second play from scrimmage, broke loose for a 25-yard TD scamper, but the kick fell short, hitting the uprights, as Hemlock pulled ahead 19-0 with 10:17 left in the first half.
Another Nouvel three-and-out forced another punt, as the Huskies went to work from its own 36-yard line, advancing deep into NCC territory on long runs by Peters and Sylvester, along with a pass from Devereaux to Hemlock senior WR Payton Tenant, while a 15 yard run by Devereaux set up his own 2 yard TD run, before completing a pass to senior Alexander Ostrowski for the 2-point conversion for a 27-0 Hemlock lead with 5:18 left in the half.
Starting on the Nouvel 20-yard line, Alverson completed a quick 10 yard strike to junior WR Harry Dwan on first down, but the Hemlock defense dug in, forcing another Panther punt, which would give the Huskies possession near mid-field, before Devereaux hit Hemlock sophomore tight end Brayden Green with a 16 yard pass to set up another 25-yard TD run by Devereaux, his fifth rushing TD of the first half, to go along with his 112 rushing yards in the half, however, the 2-point try failed, giving the Huskies a 33-0 lead with 3:07 remaining in second quarter.
Nouvel would finally get on the scoreboard after Kuligowski broke off a couple of long runs, while Alverson pushed the Panthers into Hemlock territory on a pair of pass completions to junior WR Sam Buckingham, before hitting senior WR John Paul LeFevre with a 30 yard TD pass, but the kick missed, as NCC cut the Hemlock lead to 33-6 heading into halftime.
Following a scoreless third quarter, Devereaux drove the proverbial nail in the Nouvel coffin with an impressive 48 yard TD run, as Kanouse split the uprights for a 40-6 Hemlock lead with 8:44 left in the game.
After a touchback on the ensuing kickoff, Nouvel brought in backup sophomore quarterback Jack Kujawa, who quickly hit fellow sophomore WR Josh Siler with a 17 yard pass completion on first down, before finding Dwan with a 63 yard touchdown pass on the next play, but the 2-point try failed, as the Panthers managed to cut the Hemlock lead to 40-12 with just over 6-minutes left in the game.
Hemlock would round out the scoring when Sylvester hit the end zone with a rushing TD, while Kanouse nailed the extra point for a 47-12 Hemlock lead late in the fourth quarter.
Devereaux led the Huskies with 21 carries for 213 rushing yards, with 6 rushing touchdowns, while completing 4 of 7 passes for 33 passing yards, followed by Peters who had 14 carries for 103 rushing yards to pace the Hemlock offense, while Sylvester added the other TD for the Huskies. Green had 1 catch for 16 yards and Tenant also added 1 catch for 5 yards for the Huskies.
Kuligowski had 10 carries for 77 rushing yards for the Panthers, followed by Alverson, who completed 11 of 22 passes for 105 passing yards, with 1 passing TD through the air, adding 7 carries for 22 rushing yards on the ground.
Dwan led all NCC receivers with 4 catches for 101 receiving yards, along with his 63 yard TD reception from Kujawa, followed by LeFevre with 4 catches for 32 yards, including his 30 yard TD reception from Alverson, and Mitchell, who had 3 catches for 27 yards, while Buckingham, hauled in 3 catches for 26 receiving yards. Siler added 1 catch for 17 yards.
Kujawa finished 2 for 2 with 80 passing yards, along with his 63 yard TD pass to Dwan to round out the Panther offense.
Nouvel (2-1) travels to unbeaten Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary (3-0) for a 7 pm road game in another TVC West matchup at MLS high school next Friday, while Hemlock (2-1) visits undefeated St. Louis (3-0) high school for a 7 pm TVC West matchup at St. Louis high school in St. Louis, MI on Friday as well.