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Mt. Pleasant quarterback Robert Backus looks to carry the ball past some Midland High defenders during the Oilers' homecoming game on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. (Sun photo by LISA YANICK-JONAITIS/@lisayj_msun)
PREP FOOTBALL: Mt. Pleasant beats Midland in instant classic
Mt. Pleasant's Evan Huber carries the ball against Midland High's Bradley Belson during the Oilers' homecoming game on Friday, Sept. 27. 2013. (sun photo by LISA YANICK-JONAITIS/@lisayj_msun)
Friday night’s 50-42 Homecoming football win over Midland was huge on a couple of fronts for Mt. Pleasant High.
From Coach Jason McIntyre’s point of view: “It’s the one game alums always ask about when I see them in the offseason.”
And from standout senior quarterback Robert Backus perspective: “This win is especially big because this senior class had never beaten Midland in football.”
Mt. Pleasant is now 4-1 for the season and 2-0 in Saginaw Valley League action. Midland falls to 4-1 and 2-1.
It was a game with a little bit of everything … incredible offense early and stifling defense late by both teams.
In fact, it could be said that it was the Oiler defense that won the game despite giving up 42 points and 455 yards in total offense.
“We found a way to hang in there until we could make some adjustments at the half,” McIntyre said. “And, then the defense created a number of turnovers that helped us win it at the end.”
Five turnovers, to be exact, plus a recovered onside kick in the second half did the trick for the Oilers.
PHOTOS FROM FRIDAY'S GAME BELOW
The game started out like the first team to hit 70 would win.
The visiting Chemics scored on their first five possessions and had 339 yards in total offense at the break. Mt. Pleasant had 335 yards.
The score at intermission was 35-29 in favor of Midland.
That did not last long, though.
Senior Evan Huber took the second-half kickoff back 95 yards for a TD and a 36-35 lead – an advantage MP would never give up.
“I told my blockers on the kick return team to hold their blocks and I’d score a touchdown,” Huber said. “I saw a lane in the first half but couldn’t get to it. This time I did.”
The lightning-quick Huber had a game for the ages. Not only did he return the kickoff for a TD but he caught 10 passes for 181 yards (three for scores from 44, 19 and 24 yards) and rushed for 39 yards, 33 on a fake punt.
“I get to decide on the punt whether to kick it or not,” said Huber who uses a rugby-style punt. “I did it at Flint Powers earlier and it worked.”
McIntyre was high in his praise for the entire team, and singled out Backus and Huber.
“I am so excited for these kids,” he said. “We showed we were a well-rounded football team and beat a heckuva team. Midland was not going to let us run the football. Backus and Huber were great.”
Backus, a senior quarterback, threw for 310 yards and five touchdowns. He completed 20-of-30 passes.
“We entered the game figuring we’d throw quite a bit,” Backus said. “But, I never expected to throw for five touchdowns. That’s a first.”
Down by a 35-21 margin at the 6:44 mark of the second period, the Oilers scored 29 unanswered points for a 50-35 lead with 3:55 to play in the third.
The Chemics cut the margin to 50-42 early in the fourth and had the ball three more times. They lost the ball each time on a turnover – a fumble recovery by Ray McGillvary, a fumble recovery by Keith Odykirk and an interception by Hunter Buczkowski.
The Oilers finished the game with 131 yards on the ground and 310 through the air. The winners were helped by the return of sophomore receiver Kalebb Perry who missed the past three games with an injury. He caught five passes for 73 yards.
Backus also teamed with Zach Rogers on a 41-yard TD pass and Perry with a 14-yarder that pushed the Oilers to the 50-point mark. Makyo Dye chipped in a five-yard run while Jacob Phillips caught a two-point conversion from Backus on a broken play. Mitch Ridley converted all six of his extra-point attempts.
Midland’s Will Williams, who galloped 93 yards with a pass from Tanner Gross on the first play of the game, rushed for 188 yards on 23 carries and scored three times. He also caught four passes for 115 yards.
PHOTO GALLERY FROM FRIDAY'S GAME BELOW
Last Updated: 9/27/2013 11:25:52 PM EST