Portagers roll over Grand Traverse Academy, 72-6

Onekama’s Taylor Bennett (25) hauls in a touchdown pass during the Portagers’ 72-6 shellacking of Grand Traverse Academy Friday night. (Brian Fogg/News Advocate)

Onekama’s Taylor Bennett (25) hauls in a touchdown pass during the Portagers’ 72-6 shellacking of Grand Traverse Academy Friday night. (Brian Fogg/News Advocate)

ONEKAMA — Friday’s game went about as expected for undefeated Onekama.

The Portagers (7-0, 6-0) avoided any disasters with a 72-6 win over the winless Grand Traverse Academy (0-7, 0-6).

“We came in with some goals with about how we wanted to play and I think we accomplished those goals. I think we’re playing hard and with better technique,” Onekama coach John Neph said.

The scoring started early with Onekama scoring twice before ever running an offensive play from scrimmage. The Portagers finished with 72 points on 18 plays.

Jeremiah Torrey returned a fumble by the GTA punter on the first possession, and on the second Mustang possession he picked off a pass for a 60-yard return for a touchdown. They led 12-0 at 8:24 in the first.

The offense started rolling early too. On the third offensive play from scrimmage Jacob Mauntler broke loose for the first of his 4 touchdowns on a 23-yard run, and later in the first he had a 26-yard touchdown run.

With the game out of reach early in the second quarter Neph was able to mix in all of the players later on. Taylor Bennett, Blake Soper and Lucas Mauntler would each also go on to score touchdowns in the game.

The Portagers led 58-0 at the half, and were able to coast home with a running clock in the second half.

 “The guys played hard. They did a great job,” Neph said. “We got everybody in. We saw some younger guys mix it up on the varsity field, and I’m proud of our effort.”

“Our defense did pretty well. I loved our defense today. We were able to get a few of our JVs in,” senior lineman Nick Falk said. “Our offense was great, but we did struggle a little bit in the beginning with the two-point conversations.”

Leading the team on Friday was Jacob Mauntler who was 4 for 95 rushing with 3 touchdowns and 1 for 1 passing with 35-yard touchdown. Soper was 3 for 91 rushing with a touchdown, Lucas Mauntler was 3 for 60 rushing with a touchdown, Torrey was 3 for 38 with a touchdown and Ben Acton was 2 for 28 with a touchdown.

Aaron Powers led the team with 8 tackles, and Grant Johnson had 5. 

Onekama outgained GTA 357-89.

Neph is pleased to get past this game, and now the team can start looking forward to what will likely be its toughest game of the regular season at Central Lake (7-0, 6-0). The game will be for the league title as well as a step toward home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Both teams are in a position that if they win that they could be the number one seed when the playoffs begin in three weeks.

“It’s going to be a really tough game next week. We’re going to practice hard for it and come out strong,” Acton said. “It’s a good motivation looking forward to see who the better team is.”

 The Trojans won 58-30 against Atlanta on Friday evening, and both teams will be undefeated come next week. Kickoff will be Friday at 7 p.m. at Central Lake High School.

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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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