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FOOTBALL: This time, LCN can't catch up

Grosse Pointe North's Andrew Lock (88) celebrates a second quarter touchdown. (The Macomb Daily/DAVID DALTON0

L'Anse Creuse North's Kairos Bodley (18) attempts to block a pass to Martice Dunlap during third quarter action. ( The Macomb Daily/DAVID DALTON)

Grosse Pointe North's Tod Long (4) is taken down by L'Anse Creuse North's Deiontae Nicholas (4) and Brandon Lechowicz (33) during third quarter action. (The Macomb Daily/DAVID DALTON)

This time, a sluggish first half was too much to overcome for the L’Anse Creuse North Crusaders, who have become quite the comeback kids.

The Crusaders scored a touchdown with 5:36 to play in the game and recovered an onsides kick, but Grosse Pointe North hung on for a 33-21 Friday in Grosse Pointe.

LCN was down two scores when it reached the Norsemen 4-yard line. A second-down pass was intercepted by GPN’s Diondre Collins to seal the win.

The Crusaders scored twice with less than three minutes to play last week in edging Grosse Pointe South 39-37. LCN won a wild opener, 42-37 over Cousino. This time, they dug too deep a hole to rescue another game as Grosse Pointe North piled up the points.

“You can’t give up 30 points; you’re going to lose most games,” LCN Coach Anthony Kiner said. “We’ve been lucky the last two games and we’ve got to go back to the drawing board. The good thing is it’s not the kids, it’s just blown assignments, so it’s (the coaches). We’ve just got to coach our kids up better.”

Crusaders quarterback Sean Koski, who tossed five TD passes a week ago, was disappointed the team didn’t take advantage of some prime scoring chances early.

“It was real frustrating. We got those opportunities and we’ve got to capitalize on them all the time,” Koski said.

It appeared as if the Crusaders had solved their early game woes when they took the opening possession 82 yards and scored on a 44-yard pass from Koski to Alex Bond.

The Norsemen tied the game 7-7 with 7:34 to play in the first quarter when quarterback Daniel Robinson rolled wide and found ample room for a 33-yard touchdown.

On the ensuing kickoff, Deiontae Nicholas raced to the GPN 21-yard line. The Crusaders converted on a fourth-and-5 on a pass from Koski to Jacob Chattinger, but when faced with fourth-and-goal from the 13, GPN’s Odell Snyder broke up a pass in the end zone.

The Crusaders hurt themselves with penalties throughout the game and it was another fourth-down play deep in GPN territory that proved frustrating. It was fourth-and-1 at the Norsemen 10 when the Crusaders opted for a pass and it fell incomplete.

“We throw the ball. We win with the throw, we lose with the throw,” Koski said. “We’ve got great trust in the coach. Whatever play he calls, we run.”

The Norseman then proceeded to march 90 yards, capping the drive with a 7-yard scoring toss from Robinson to tight end Andrew Lock. That gave GPN a 13-7 lead 3:29 before halftime.

Remarkably, the Crusaders again went on the attack with success, reaching the Norsemen 17 where they faced fourth-and-1. An inside pitch play to Trevor Conklin was sniffed out and GPN held its 13-7 edge at the half.

The Norsemen’s opening possession in the third quarter was fruitful when Robinson hit Martice Dunlap on a 76-yard TD pass to go up 19-13.

On the first play following the kickoff, the Crusaders went into quick-strike mode. Koski spotted a wide-open Nicholas over the middle and the pair produced a 65-yard scoring play, bringing the Crusaders to within 19-13.

LCN recovered a GPN fumble midway through the third quarter at its 27. Koski hit Chattinger in stride for a 73-yard scoring strike, but it was called back on an illegal receiver downfield penalty. The mistake kept the Crusaders from possibly taking the lead.

The Norsemen came right back and went up 25-13 when Robinson again hit Lock, this time on a 51-yard strike late in the third quarter. The Norsemen opened the margin to 33-13 when they went 56 yards on 13 plays, with Robinson going the final yard for the TD.

The Cruaders kept fighting and got within 33-21 when Nicholas caught another touchdown from Koski to make it 33-21 with 5:36 to play. That’s when LCN recovered the onsides kick and drove deep, but came up empty.

Kiner, while not happy with most facets of his team’s play, was quick to point out that it was just one game.

“We got to find the right answers. Sometimes a loss is the best thing that can happen to your team,” he said. “We’ve got a hard game next week. You’ve got to forget about this and go on to Romeo.

“We’re still 2-1, we’re still a good team. We’ve got to go for the long haul.”

Grosse Pointe North Coach Frank Sumbera was thrilled with his team’s play, but knew there was no relaxing even with a nice lead late.

“Not at all,” he said. “That’s why I was disappointed when 33-13 and we were moving. We fumbled the ball. They’re a quick-strike team.”

Kiner will examine why the Crusaders seem to save their best ball for the second half.

“We’ve got to wake up in the first half,” he said. “I don’t know if we’ve got to change something. We’ll figure it out.”

Both teams entered the game 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division.

Last Updated: 9/13/2013 11:42:41 PM EST

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