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Nordics whip Glads for homecoming win

FELCH — Scoring early and often is what the North Dickinson Nordics did Friday night, going on to defeat the Ontonagon Gladiators 54-22 in Great Lakes Conference 8 West Division football action.

Nordics running back Brandon Thao scored the first of his five touchdowns on the night at the 8:38 mark of the first quarter to put ND ahead 8-0 after a Thao two-point conversion run. Ontonagon then went on 10-play scoring drive, capped off by a two-yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown by Ike Bramlett to make the score 8-6 Nordics.

On the ensuing kickoff, things got interesting. Brennan Donaldson of the Nordics received the kickoff running down the home sideline, stopped dead in his tracks and threw a backward pass across the field to Cameron Schultz. After making the reception at the 35 yard-line, Schultz dashed in for a 65-yard touchdown. A failed PAT made the score 14-6.

Four plays in to the second quarter, Donaldson hit Hunter Parent on a 35-yard touchdown pass at the 10:22 mark. A Donaldson to Schultz pass for the two-

point conversion extended the Nordics lead to 22-6. After a three and out, Ontonagon’s short punt gave the Nordics good field position.

On the first play from scrimmage, Thao scored on a 44-yard touchdown run, his second of the night, bringing the score to 28-6 at 8:35 remaining before halftime. The Gladiators turned the ball over on downs on their next drive, near midfield. Once again, on the first play from scrimmage for the Nordics, Thao scored his third touchdown of the night, this time from 56-yards out. A failed PAT attempt left the score at 34-6 home team.

Getting the ball back for one last possession before halftime, the Nordics extended their lead to 40-6 on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Donaldson to Maximus Mattson with 1:38 left. The PAT failed, and the 40-6 North Dickinson lead was the halftime score.

The Nordics received the second-half kickoff, then Thao scored once again on the first play from scrimmage, on a 49-yard touchdown run, his fourth of the night. Schultz added a successful PAT to bring the score to 47-6 Nordics.

With the running clock rule in effect nearly nine minutes ticked off before Thao got in to the end zone for the fifth time at 3:00 minutes left in the third quarter. A successful Schultz PAT extended North Dickinson’s lead to 54-6.

On the ensuing kickoff, Ontonagon’s Steven Graff returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. Graff added a 2-point conversion to make the score 54-14.

After recovering the onside kick, the Gladiators added a late touchdown on a five-yard pass from Bramlett to Austin Walters. Bramlett added the two-point conversion on a run.

Nordics head coach Mike Christian was pleased with his team’s effort on the night “We showed up with a lot of excitement tonight, got off to a fast start, something that we usually don’t do” Christian said.

“Brandon (Thao) was outstanding tonight, running the ball of course, but on defense as well. It was a great team win, especially to win on homecoming.” said Christian.

For Ontonagon’s first year coach Ray Bramlett, dealing with a young roster all season has been a challenge. The Gladiators have three seniors on their roster, with the largest group (class) of players on the roster being sophomores.

“There was a lot of fight in our kids, right to the end. We moved the ball tonight at certain points, which is a good thing” said coach Bramlett. “Not being able to stop the outside run has been a problem all season for us, Thao took advantage of that all night.”

The Gladiators struggled to run the ball on the night, gained most of their positive yardage through the air. Bramlett had 144 passing yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Walters had five receptions for 101 yards.

North Dickinson amassed 333 rushing yards, and 102 passing. Thao led the way with 244 yards on 13 carries, and he was also the Nordics’ leading tackler with 12. Schultz and Donaldson added interceptions defensively.

Ontonagon travels to Forest Park next week to finish their season. The Nordics stay home to host the Carney-Nadeau Wolves.

In what is an unusual occurrence, North Dickinson is allowing Carney to celebrate their homecoming at James D. Preistap Memorial Field next Friday night. The Wolves don’t have a home field of their own, a mutual agreement between both schools’ administrations, is what made the unusual occurrence to come about.

Ontonagon 6 0 8 8 — 22

N. Dickinson 14 26 14 0 — 54

1ST QUARTER

ND — Brandon Thao 2 Yard Run (Thao Run) 8:38

O — Ike Bramlett 2 Yard Run (Run Failed) 4:00

ND — Cameron Schultz 65 Yard Kickoff Return on a Lateral From Brennan Donaldson (Kick Failed) 3:47

2ND QUARTER

ND — Thao 44 Yard Run (Kick Failed) 8:35

ND — Thao 56 Yard Run (Kick Failed) 5:12

ND — Maximus Mattson 46 Yard Pass from Donaldson (Kick Failed) 1:38

3RD QUARTER

ND — Thao 49 Yard Run (Schultz Kick) 11:42

ND — Thao 10 Yard Run (Schultz Kick) 3:00

O – Steven Graff 80 Yard Kickoff Return (Graff Run) 0:10

4TH QUARTER

O — Austin Walters 5 Yard Pass Bramlett (Bramlett Run) 2:45

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