Archive for July 2013

Top 31 Moments in the UP! #30 – Two Dunks for the Price of One

July 3, 2013
Photo by Grandpa Camo

Photo by Grandpa Camo

Hey sports fans, I hope you enjoyed #31 on my countdown and want more exciting moments from the Upper Peninsula through the past year. For #30 I am going to jump to higher moments in High School Basketball.

The date was December 10, 2012. It was a cold and snowy night in the Upper Peninsula and I was trying to find out what game I should shoot for the 11 o’clock news. I thought, let’s get some Republic Hawks highlights because the station didn’t really cover a lot of Republic games. So I thought that night was perfect to showcase some different talent.

When I got to the gym in downtown Republic,  the Hawks were trailing North Central and the rising Jets 33-15 at the half. At that point I thought to myself, this is going to be a rough game to shoot for highlights. But I was completely WRONG!

Because the half started out with some nice defense from the Jets as Josh Granquist came up with the steal and the nice lay in at the other end. And then, the wings started to spread for both teams. Off a North Central miss, Jonathan Lygdman would get the ball up court and slam the orange in the basket for the two handed flush. Through the camera lens I was like, “WOAH!! DID THAT JUST HAPPEN????” I was very impressed by the big fella. It was a great play!

But the Jets wanted to lift off on the road and seal the deal as they started a break of their own a few minutes later and Tyler Polfus passed the ball to a wide open Caleb Martin who then flushed it down with two hands!!! The North Central bench on their feet going crazy and I thought to myself, “Did I just see two dunks in a game?” And the answer was, “Yes, yes I did see two dunks in a game in the Upper Peninsula.”

That was one of the most memorable and impressive displays of athleticism I have seen in my time in the Upper Peninsula. It was rare to see a kid dunk it here in the UP, but to see two guys sky to the rim and finish was remarkable. I don’t think I have even seen a high school game that entertaining and full of excitement.

I will post the video below of my highlights from that night. Let’s just say, I got very excited for a moment that might not happen again for a very long time…

 

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

July 2, 2013
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!