Solid gold GNC champs
Menominee caps off season of league dominance
Friday, October 25, 2013 7:00 PM
MARQUETTE, Mich. - Menominee clamped an iron fist on the Great Northern Conference championship trophy and poured more coal on the fire for a playoff trophy run Friday.
The Maroons clinched their first sole GNC title and unbeaten regular season since 2007 with a 51-7 thumping of playoff-bound Marquette.
"A great victory," coach Joe Noha said. "I'm really pleased with the kids, the coaching staff and the training staff. Now, on to the playoffs."
Menominee (4-0 GNC, 9-0 overall) outscored its four league opponents 193-26.
The Maroons shattered a 7-7 deadlock with a six-minute, 23-point flurry in the second quarter.
Turnovers chilled early scoring threats by both teams.
The Redmen ( 2-2 GNC, 5-3 overall) drove to the Menominee 14 before the Maroons smothered a fumbled snap to bury the threat.
On fourth and less than a yard at the 4, the Maroons fumbled the ball short of a first down.
Forcing the Redmen to punt from deep in their own territory, Menominee took over at the Marquette 25.
Marquette was seconds from becoming the first team to shut out Menominee in the first quarter when Justin Brilinski zipped a 23-yard scoring strike to Devon Harris. Evan Pohlmann added the PAT with 16 seconds left in the first quarter.
Two plays later, Brett Place unloaded a pass with a Maroon in his face and a wide-open Kurt Burmeister snared it on the run for a 79-yard scoring bomb to even the score 10 seconds into the second quarter.
Marquette forced Menominee into just its third punt of the season, but it turned into found gold for the Maroons. The Redmen muffed the punt return and Menominee swarmed over the ball at the Redmen 37.
Marquette turned the tables on the next play when a fierce pass rush led to a Redmen interception at their own 38.
After Max Bednarek boomed his punt into the end zone, Brilinski followed a block from James Brown for a 76-yard touchdown dash. Pohlmann's kick gave the Maroons a 14-7 lead with 7:51 left in the half.
Ryne Francour blitzed through the Marquette line on third down and Shaun Sullivan picked off his pass and returned it to the Redmen 32. On third and 5 at the 27, senior Tyler Howell snared his first career TD pass on a 27-yard spiral from Harris. Pohlmann's kick padded the lead to 21-7 midway through the second quarter.
The Maroons blew up the Redmen's next series when Chase LaCombe and Brandon Chouinard sacked Place for a 5-yard loss and Aeron Forsberg swiped a pass and returned it to the Marquette 37.
Menominee's air game struck again three plays later when Devon Barley pulled in a 38-yard touchdown pass from Brilinski to push the lead to 27-7.
Marquette faked a punt and the Maroons stuffed Brazeau just short of a first down.
Menominee gained a quick 14 yards on a hook-and-ladder and Harris speared a pass from Brilinski for a 24-yard gain to the 17.
On fourth down, Pohlmann drilled a 33-yard field goal to stretch the lead to 30-7 at halftime.
Brilinski tore through the Redmen for a huge gain early in the third quarter and Barley finished off the drive with an 18-yard scoring dash. Pohlmann's fourth PAT hiked the margin to 37-7.
Brown vaulted into the end zone from the 1 to kick in the running clock early in the fourth quarter and Pohlmann added his fifth PAT with 9:30 remaining.
Karl Schloegel recovered a fumble, Forsberg outraced the Redmen for a 27-yard TD and Pohlmann sent his 52nd PAT of the season into the Marquette wind and sleet.
The Maroons amassed 474 totals yards, including 247 on the ground. Brilinski hit the century mark in rushing and/or passing for the eighth time this season with 134 rushing yards and he completed 12 of 19 passes for 160 yards. Harris had eight receptions for 102 yards and Barley caught four passes for 65 yards.