There was a since of euphoria in the Port Huron locker room after their 50-14 victory over Port Huron Northern Friday night.
It was the culmination of a standout regular season for the Big Reds, which also includes a Macomb Area Conference White Division championship.
The win also is historic. It was the most points Port Huron has scored against Northern and also its fourth consecutive win in the series. That ties the longest stretch of dominance (1981-84) the Big Reds have enjoyed against their rivals.
“Give credit to the coaches and the kids that have been around the program for a while,” Port Huron coach Ryan Mullins said. “They know how important having that (Brick Fowler) trophy at our school is. They appreciate it, and it means a lot to those seniors. It’s something they can be proud of knowing they were a part of that.”
The Big Reds turned in a dominating performance in all three phases of the game and never allowed Northern to be within striking range for an upset.
“We had to play for our seniors,” Port Huron quarterback DeAngielo Sanderson Jr. said after rushing for 113 yards and throwing for 132 yards. “We wanted to play well for them and be at our best.”
Northern senior quarterback Kyle Burch never got into a groove as Port Huron dominated the line of scrimmage. Burch was sacked five times in each half for 10 total sacks.
“Those are big momentum plays,” coach Mullins said. “Even though we didn’t create any turnovers, the sacks create field position, and those are just big momentum plays. We have fed off and got a lot of momentum off that.”
Port Huron Northern got its first score from an unlikely source. Center and inside linebacker Spenser Vasbinder scored on a 2-yard run as an up-back to give Port Huron Northern a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy game.
“I had another offensive lineman with me in the backfield, and in our mind we were going through touchdown dances,” Vasbinder said. “You got to have a big man dance. When do you get a chance at that. It was a great way to end my career.
“A win would have been better, but scoring a touchdown was the second best way.”
Air Raid Vikings?
Phill Griffor has thrown just 84 passes this season for Marysville. But when the Vikings are throwing, it’s working — especially late in the season — and that’s keeping defenses honest as Marysville heads into the postseason.
“We only passed one time against St. Clair for a touchdown, and just ran all the other times,” Marysville sophomore fullback Dante Chrcek said. “When we can pass for good yardage, it’s awesome.”
On Friday night in a 39-20 win against St. Clair Shores Lakeview, Griffor was 6-of-8 passing for 69 yards, a modest stat line in today’s world of spread offenses and high-powered passing attacks. But two of those six completions went for touchdowns, and he had another that was called back on a block in the back.
Against St. Clair, he was 1-of-1 for 24 yards and a score, and in Week 7 against Sterling Heights he had his best day through the air, completing six of seven passes for 191 yards and three scores. On the season, Griffor is 55-of-84 (65 percent) for 783 yards and nine touchdowns. Again, the numbers aren’t super flashy, but they’re incredibly efficient — he’s averaging a touchdown pass on every ninth throw. That is the key for the Vikings, who are most comfortable when running the ball, as teams can’t completely cheat up without the threat of getting beat over the top.
“It’s huge, because they can just run if we don’t capitalize on the pass,” Marysville junior tight end Kyle Cook, who caught a touchdown pass Friday, said. “We were able to spread them out.”
The final tally of Blue Water Area playoff teams is 10: Marine City, Richmond, St. Clair, Port Huron, Yale, Marysville, Marlette, Sandusky, Peck and Deckerville.
There are no area teams with a 5-4 record, meaning nobody will be waiting on pins and needles when the MHSAA selection show airs at 7 p.m. today on Fox Sports Detroit. During that show, those 10 teams will find out their playoff fates.