Portagers rock & roll

 

Onekama’s Caleb Wisniski (75) bears down on Central Lake quarterback Isaac Mortensen during the Portagers’ 27-0 win  in their first-ever home football playoff game Friday night. Onkema advances to face Frankfort for the district title next week. (Brian Fogg/News Advocate)

Onekama’s Caleb Wisniski (75) bears down on Central Lake quarterback Isaac Mortensen during the Portagers’ 27-0 win in their first-ever home football playoff game Friday night. Onkema advances to face Frankfort for the district title next week. (Brian Fogg/News Advocate)

ONEKAMA — It was the kind of game that makes you soar by watching on Friday when Onekama routed Central Lake, 27-0.

It is Onekama’s first playoff win since 1999, and the first ever on home turf.

The Portagers’ never trailed, but in the first half they did struggle pulling away from the Trojans.

Aside from a 60-yard run by Jacob Mauntler on Onekama’s second play from scrimmage, the two teams played a battle of field position in the first half.

“Coach got into our heads and got us pumped up again,” senior Caleb Wisniski said.

Onekama came out and scored right out of the gate with a five-minute drive capped off by a 10-yard fade route from Randy Pienta to Joeb Reed.

Down 14-0, Central Lake drove the length of the field, but after a personal foul they were forced to punt on 4th and goal at the 40-yard line.

In the 4th quarter Onekama went to their workhorse, Jon Acton. He scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes to cement at least one more week of playoff football.

“It was tough. It was hard fought. There were no big adjustments that we made at halftime. We just pointed some things that need some more effort and patience. I thought Randy hitting a few passes backed them up a bit. They were packing 8 in the box, or really 9 when that corner rotates in so hard,” Onekama coach Jim Hunter said. “Pienta had to be the one to make the play. We haven’t done well with the passing this year. The early one out there to the wide receiver brought them up. We weren’t throwing the ball and they weren’t going to honor it.”

Acton led his team with 17 carries for 207 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Mauntler provide a burst for his team with 13 carries for 105 yards and a score.

“Acton was voted MVP of the league offensively, and rightfully so. Jon is part of the whole senior class. You can single him out, he had a big night. He’s very explosive and he’s got good vision. He gets up in there and trusts his line and he stays in there long enough to see it and he goes. He’s been doing that all year. You just don’t always see it because he gets 4 carries some games,” Hunter said. “Eight of them came up as sophomores and started for us. We took our lumps two years. Last year we had a winning record and we got thumped, but we made a go of it with St. Francis and we got better.”

Wisniski controlled the entire front line on defense with 11 tackles and 2 sacks. Matt Hull had 10 tackles and 1 sack

Onekama ran 38 plays for 342 yards for an average of 9 yards per play.

Central Lake ran 59 plays for 145 yards for an average of 2.5 yards per play.

“Mostly it was just the kid’s attitudes. I’ve been there on the other side of it where you’re battling and you’re hanging with within one score and all of the sudden it’s two. I give the credit to Coach Wiz (Wisniski) and our defense. They’ve been doing that all year. It’s shutout after shutout. We’ve only given up six touchdowns all year,” Hunter said. “Even against competition that doesn’t have a winning record, that’s pretty impressive. The kids can handle pretty much anything you throw at them. We have an awful lot of athletes and we’re pretty fast on defense.”

Frankfort defeated Baldwin 56-32 on Friday night and they will be Onekama’s next opponent. The two rivals played each other in the final regular season game and Onekama won 21-8, but historically the Panthers have had their number.

“I’m excited. I’m ready for round two,” Wisniski said. “We’ll come out and play as a family, because that’s what we are. We’re all one here, and we’re just going to tear them up.”

“It’s great. It’s exactly what we wanted,” Acton said. “We just have to go out and play as hard as we can and see what happens.”

For now Onekama will be able to celebrate their first playoff victory since their senior class was in diapers.

“This is huge. It’s a dream. It’s awesome,” Acton said.

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Posted by Brian Fogg

Brian is the sports writer for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3110 or bfogg@pioneergroup.com.

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