By BURT ANGELI
KINGSFORD - Kingsford allowed Grayling's high-powered offense to put up 400 yards Saturday.
Theresa Peterson/The Daily News Photo
Kingsford’s Aidan Wienke (84) recorded two interceptions during Saturday’s Division 5 pre-district contest against Grayling
But even with that lofty number the Flivvers couldn't have been happier with the defense after beating the Vikings 36-14 in a Division 5 football pre-district at Flivver Field.
Kingsford logged four interceptions and a binder of big defensive stops to hold previously unbeaten Grayling to a season-low point total.
"I thought we were a little tense and a little unsure in the first half," said Coach Chris Hofer, his Flivvers contending with Grayling's no-huddle offense. "But changed up our coverage on defense at halftime and we did a really nice job in the second half. We made some plays on defense."
While Reed Larson powered the Flivver offense with 181 yards rushing on 31 carries and three touchdowns, Aidan Wienke stood out on both sides of the ball with two interceptions, one for a 68-yard touchdown, and one reception for a 56-yard score.
"I was just seeing the field well and every time I caught the ball there were blockers out there leading for me," said Wienke, a senior wide receiver and free safety. "It was a team effort, really, it was."
Ed Sexton and Cole Tengesdahl also picked off two of Grayling's 51 passes. Adam Michaud recovered a fumble and the Flivvers turned in six other big efforts to prevent first downs.
"We can't have that many turnovers and mental mistakes," said Grayling Coach Tim Sanchez, decked out in a winter hat, long coat and green tie. "We had some opportunities we didn't capitalize on and you can't do that with a great team like Kingsford."
Larson got things going with a bang, romping 53 yards to the end zone on the first play from scrimmage. The senior back added a one-yard plunge in the second quarter and a 17-yard blast in the fourth where he plowed through the Grayling defense.
"They were lined up inside and they didn't really have anybody outside for contain," Larson said of the first score. "Aidan kicked their guy out and it was just a wide open chute.
"Once our offense started clicking and the holes opened up we were getting good yardage. Without the line nothing would happen."
Grayling moved into Flivver territory four times in the first half before Ty Jensen stepped eight yards into the end zone with 49 seconds remaining to close the gap to 14-7. Jensen rushed for 129 yards - 85 in the first half.
In the third quarter, Kingsford faced a third-and-long on its first offensive series of the second half. Wienke said Hofer made up a play in the huddle.
"'You know what, you just run a post,'" Hofer told Wienke.
"Somehow the ball just squeezed through two guys," Wienke said of Caleb Harrington's throw. "I was shocked nobody was behind me and I just started running as fast as I can."
The Flivvers held a 23-7 lead early in the fourth quarter after Gabe Swanson booted a 21-yard field goal. Wienke supplied the dagger with his theft and 68-yard scoring jaunt.
"I just read the quarterback's eyes and go where ever he goes," Wienke said.
Grayling junior quarterback Jake Swander, who apparently locked onto his targets right from the snap, completed 27 of 51 passes for 269 yards and one score.
"They brought (defensively) what we thought," Sanchez said. "But they were quicker than we thought. They were in step with our deep routes. Kingsford is the first team we just couldn't get deep on."
Conner Berndt (first-quarter sack and decked Swander on a third-period throw), Hilding Beaudoin (stop on third-and-one in the first quarter; forced a fumble), Tengesdahl (knocked away a fourth-and-one pass from the Flivver 46), Sean Ryan (tripped up Jensen on fourth-and-one from the Flivver 41) and Wienke (leveled Jensen on a fourth-down run) also made big defensive plays.
"We had some fourth and ones that we typically get," Sanchez said. "That's kind of our game and we just couldn't get it today."
Kingsford tallied 313 yards total offense and Grayling registered 149 of its 400 in the second half.
The Flivvers (9-1) will travel to Menominee (9-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday for the district championship.
Grayling 0 7 0 7 - 14
Kingsford 7 7 6 16 - 36
K - Reed Larson 53 run (Gabe Swanson kick), 11:50.
K - Larson 1 run (Swanson kick), 8:37.
G - Ty Jensen 8 run (Kevin Harris kick), :49.
K - Aidan Wienke 56 pass from Caleb Harrington (kick failed), 7:17.
K - Swanson 21 field goal, 11:40.
K - Wienke 68 pass interception (Swanson kick), 8:00
K - Larson 17 run (kick failed), 4:59.
G - Tyler McClanahan 3 pass from Jake Swander (Harris kick), 3:37.
Total offense - Kingsford 313 (250 rushing, 63 passing), Grayling 400 (131 rushing, 269 passing).
Rushing - Kingsford, Larson 31-181, Harrington 2-minus 15, Ryan 11-24, Peterson 3-31, Michaud 4-10, Patterson 2-14, Curran 1-5; Grayling, Jensen 16-129, Swander 4-minus 1, Tobin 1-2, Harris 1-1.
Passing - Kingsford, Harrington 3-9-2, 63; Grayling, Swander 27-51-4, 269.
Receiving - Kingsford, Wienke 2-61, Ryan 1-2; Grayling, McClanahan 7-48, Schultz 7-75, Parkinson 2-60, Jensen 7-41, Harris 1-9, Tobin 3-36.
First downs - K 18, G 19.
Pass interceptions - Kingsford, Ed Sexton, Wienke (2) and Tengesdahl; Grayling, Jensen and Parkinson.