Top 31 Moments in the UP! #31 – Hurley surely was going to win, until the Trojans fought back

Photo by: Peter Nocerini

Photo by: Peter Nocerini

During the month of July, I will be posting my top 31 sports moments in the UP. Let’s start with number 31. I kick off the countdown with High School Football and one of the great fall classics I saw during my time in the Upper Peninsula. It was week 3 on the young football season and Forest Park had been playing well with 2 easy wins over Bark River-Harris and Norway. But the Midgets from Hurley, WI traveled to Crystal Falls and wanted to create a rock of their own and steal a tough road victory. (Highlights of the game are below at the 6:40 mark)

When I showed up to the game, it was midway through the third quarter and Hurley led 12-6 and was looking for another touchdown. Starting from their own 35, they had 1st and 10 at the Trojan 21. Midgets QB James Sukanen went back to pass but Trojans Dennis Mongar rushed hard and hit him as he threw. This caused the pass to come up short and fall right into the hands of Derek Aberly’s at the 15 yard line. So #20 in black rushed down the sideline and scored the 85 yard interception to go up 13-12 heading into the fourth quarter.

Here is the wacky part of the game. Hurley faced a 4th and 10 at their 45 with 2:28 left in the contest and they broke out a double reverse play to Mike Henning who ran to the right side and it seemed like he would score a touchdown with ease to take the lead but NO! The ever so quick Austin Snell saved the day by tripping up Henning down at the Trojans 2 yard line after a 53-yard gain.

And then, the craziest play I have ever seen occurred in front of my eyes through my camera lens. On 1st and goal from the two, the Senior QB Mike Saari FUMBLES the ball and Trojan’s Taylor Nocerini wrapped up the pig skin and it looked like the game was over. WRONG!

Forest Park’s offense didn’t produce anything, setting up a 4th and 5 on their own 7 yard line.  So the punter runs on to the field to send it deep but the ball comes off the side of his foot and it is shanked out of bounds at their own 18 yard line. That sets up Hurley with a first down and only 18 yards to score with only setting up a first down for Hurley with 1:40 left in the game.

But the Trojans prevailed because on fourth down, Raymond Tomasik and Steve Hallmann broke through the Hurley offensive line and sacked Sukanen.

Two kneel-downs later, the Trojans celebrated their incredible win 13-12 and the team in orange was just speechless. Heck, I WAS SPEECHLESS!

I had never seen anything so crazy in my life. If you would have told me Hurley would fumble on the two with four chances to score I would have called you crazy. With a minute left and Hurley within striking distance I would have thought they would have drove the ball down and settled for a field goal. But no, the Trojans defense comes up big and creates a lasting memory in my mind. I was literally going crazy under my camera because I had never seen anything like that before in my life. The reason is because the High School football clocks run down so fast I didn’t expect Forest Park to come back and take the lead. . The fact that their back was against the wall and they came up with the W spoke a lot about the Trojans perseverance that year. You can’t make this stuff up.

So one memory down, another one upcoming. I don’t know about you, but I am very excited for High School Football next season! It’s going to be amazing!

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3 Comments on “Top 31 Moments in the UP! #31 – Hurley surely was going to win, until the Trojans fought back”

  1. Chris Says:

    It was not Sukanen who fumbled at the 1 yard line it was the senior quarterback Saari who came in for the play. Sukanen was a 6-3 freshman playing on varsity.

  2. Jake Says:

    History was made again at Crystal falls when Hurley came from behind to win it as time ran out, in the rain. On 4th and 9, Hurleys 6-5 Junior QB stepped up big with a pass to Mitchell Maki for the first. Several plays later Sukanen again went to the the air for a 28 yd strike to the 1 yd. line. Sukanen spiked the ball with 3.1 seconds left and the call for the fullback up the middle sealed the win as time expired. It was the first time Hurley has beaten Crystal falls in Crystal Falls and only the Trojans second loss at home, ever.


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