Turnovers doom No. 3 Onekama to 1st loss of season, 28-26 to No. 6 Tri-Unity

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WYOMING — Third-ranked Onekama turned the ball over eight times and failed on three of its four 2-point conversion attempts to go down to defeat for the first time this season, a 28-26 heartbreaker at sixth-ranked Wyoming Tri-Unity on Saturday.

“It was a very difficult loss,” Portagers head coach John Neph said. “It was a really, really challenging game, Tri-Unity lived up to everything we expected, and our guys gave it all. After the game, the players and coaches were congratulating each other on just a fantastic high-school football game.”

Onekama (4-1 overall, 3-1 Midwest Central 8-Man Conference-West) fell behind 16-0 early, but scored late in the second quarter on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Luke Mauntler to Wade Sedlar to cut the deficit to 16-6 at the break.

Tri-Unity again looked to run away with the contest, taking a 28-6 lead early in the second half before the Onekama comeback began.

Ben Acton scored on a 2-yard run to make the score 28-12, Aaron Powers found paydirt from two yards out to make it 28-18, and Mauntler scored on a 15-yard run before Onekama’s only 2-point conversion made the score 28-26.

Onekama got the ball back in the final minute of the game, but the Defenders (5-0, 2-0) lived up to their name, picking off a pass to snuff out the threat and salt away the win.

The Portagers fumbled the ball away four times, and Tri-Unity intercepted four passes in the game.

“I don’t think we’ve done that the whole year (combined),” Neph said. “That really halted our offense, and that’s really hard to overcome.”

Mauntler attempted 25 passes, completing 12 of them, for 128 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 48 yards. Acton gained 47 yards on 12 carries and caught 10 passes for 89 yards, and Powers amassed 37 yards on 4 carries.

The Portager defense was no slouch, holding a Tri-Unity team that had scored an average of over 44 points a game to just 28, its lowest total of the season, and just 47 yards rushing in the game.

“Our guys gave a great effort,” Neph said. “It was a close, hard-fought game, and I’m really proud of the guys.

“We’re definitely going to learn a lot from this game.”

Next up for the Portagers in a short trip into town for a non-league game at Manistee Catholic Central on Friday, Sept. 28.

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Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

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