Football: Engadine routs Jets, 64-34

North Central's Noah Gorzinski (7) runs against Engadine as blocking in space from Cole Timblin (30) and Brady Eichmeier (12) against the Eagles' (24) Hunter Dennis. (Mark Johnson/The Daily Press)

POWERS — Too much of Engadine senior quarterback Andrew Blanchard for the North Central Jets to handle in a 64-34 season-opening home loss.

Blanchard had a stellar performance with six rushing touchdowns and one passing score in the new Great Lakes Eight Conference win.

The swift signal caller, who also stars in basketball for the Eagles, had 268 yards rushing and 135 passing yards, accounting for 403 total yards to pace the offensive attack.

“He is really shifty and is a good player for us, “ said Engadine coach Howard Hood.

“He (Blanchard) got a lot of yards but he also spread the ball around and is a team leader. We have a bunch of running backs who help him out and we have an experienced line back this season.”

Hood is in his second season back as Engadine head coach (10-2 last year, losing in the playoffs to state champion Crystal Falls).

Hood previously was the Eagles’ varsity coach from 1991-2008 and has been with the program for more than 30 years.

The Eagles broke open a 22-20 halftime lead, out-scoring the Jets 22-8 in the third quarter to spoil the first game for new North Central coach Leo Gorzinski.

“Engadine came to play,” Gorzinski said. “They are a lot stronger and quicker than we thought they were. We thought we were prepared. They came off the ball and wanted it more than us.”

North Central scored first with starting quarterback junior Noah Gorzinski leading a 50-yard drive in four plays.

The key play in the drive, a 42-yard pass to Carter Holle setting up a seven yard strike to Travis Bentley to open the scoring.

Then the Blanchard fireworks started, scoring on runs of 36, 29 and 52 yards engineering three scoring drives in between two North Central scores for a halftime two point cushion.

Two more third quarter TD runs and a Blanchard passing score put the Eagles up 44-28 after three quarters.

Turnovers aided the Eagles throughout the contest with the Jets losing four fumbles and throwing two interceptions.

North Central drives were stalled by turnovers and giving the ball back to Blanchard was a not a recipe for success.

A 20-point fourth quarter by Engadine put the game away and a disappointing opening game loss for the home-standing Jets.

The Jets’ Gorzinski split QB duties with senior Brady Eichmeier. The tandem was effective with Gorzinski catching nine passes as a receiver and the versatility will continue for the Jets.

Gorzinski ran for one score, threw a TD pass and caught two TD passes from Eichmeier, and had two interceptions on defense in an all-around solid performance for the Jets.

“We are going to run our horses,” said Coach Gorzinski. “We are not where we need to be. We’ll see how the kids respond and we will come back to work. It is a short pre-season and we need more work.”

The Jets play Thursday night again, hosting Rapid River.

Engadine 8 14 22 20 — 64

N. Central 8 12 8 6 — 34

First Quarter

NC — N. Gorzinski 7-yard pass to Bentley (2-pt conversion), 10:48

E — Blanchard 36-yard run (2-pt conversion), 9:19

Second Quarter

NC — N. Gorzinski 5-yard run (2-pt failed), 10:53

E — Blanchard 29-yard run (Legault kick), 6:41

NC — Eichmeier pass to N. Gorzinski (2-pt failed), 5:55

E — Blanchard 52-yard run (Legault kick), 4:56

Third Quarter

E — Miller 2-yard run (Legault kick), 9:53

E — Blanchard 55-yard pass to Miller (Legault kick), 8:01

E — Blanchard 3-yard run (2-pt conversion), 3:35

NC – Bentley 5-yard run (2-pt conversion), 2:17

Fourth Quarter

E — Blanchard 30-yard run (Legault kick), 10:58

NC — Eichmeier 4-yard pass to N. Gorzinski (2-pt failed), 7:05

E — Blanchard 65-yard run (Legault kick), 6:54

E — McArthur 3-yard run (Kick blocked)

Statistics

Total offense — Engadine 577 yards (442 rushing, 135 pasing); North Central 460 (188 rushing, 272 passing).

Rushing — Engadine (Blanchard 14-268; Gould 11-76; Dennis 8-39; Miller 3-21; Wiegand 10-34; McArthur 3-4); North Central (Bentley 12-107, N. Gorzinski 8-91, Hanchek 2-24, Timblin 4-15, Eichmeier 2-5).

Passing — Engadine (Blanchard 7-15, 135 yds, one TD, two Int); North Central (N. Gorzinski 8-12, 110 yds, one TD, one int; Eichmeier 12-21, 162 yds, two TD, two int).

Receiving — Engadine (Miller 2-75; McArthur 2-47; Legault 1-9, Dennis 1-4); North Central — N. Gorzinski 9-125; Holle 5-106; Bentley 4-35.

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