2017-09-21 / Sports

St. Ignace Saints Get First Win of Football Season Over East Jordan Red Devils

By Kevin R. Hess


St. Ignace senior Trevor Soblaskey (#57) fights off a block from an East Jordan lineman in pursuit of the ball carrier. Soblaskey had seven tackles in the game. St. Ignace senior Trevor Soblaskey (#57) fights off a block from an East Jordan lineman in pursuit of the ball carrier. Soblaskey had seven tackles in the game. The St. Ignace Saints got their first win of the 2017 football season, and Head Coach Chris “Iffer” Marshall got his first win as varsity coach with a 24-8 win over the visiting East Jordan Red Devils Friday, September 15, at McCann Field. The Saints started slowly, but showed signs of growth and young talent. Both teams had trouble gaining any momentum in the first quarter as they exchanged punts and turnovers on downs. The teams were scoreless after one period.

The Saints were on the move early in the second, thanks to a big run by freshman Garett Rickley. Rickley followed that up by breaking through the line and heading toward the end zone. He was caught from behind by an East Jordan defender and fumbled the ball into the end zone, where the Red Devils recovered for a touchback. The St. Ignace defense responded by forcing East Jordan to punt. On the ensuing possession, junior quarterback Tucker Shepard connected with fellow junior Andy Metz for a long touchdown pass. The excitement was short lived as the score was wiped off the board due to an offensive holding call. The Saints incurred a penalty on the next play, as well, followed by a dropped pass, and were forced to punt. East Jordan then broke the scoreless tie after a fake screen pass left a Red Devil receiver open for a 58-yard touchdown pass with 5:05 left in the half. They converted the two-point conversion to take an 8-0 lead.


St. Ignace Head Coach Chris “Iffer” Marshall gathers his team after a Saints touchdown, encouraging them to stay aggressive, and disciplined in their assignments. The Saints earned their first win of the season, and Mr. Marshall earned his first victory as varsity head coach. St. Ignace Head Coach Chris “Iffer” Marshall gathers his team after a Saints touchdown, encouraging them to stay aggressive, and disciplined in their assignments. The Saints earned their first win of the season, and Mr. Marshall earned his first victory as varsity head coach. Rickley and the Saints bounced back as the team proceeded to drive down the field on the legs of their talented freshman. St. Ignace advanced inside the five-yard line and was faced with a fourth down and goal from three yards out. The offensive line stepped up and opened a hole for senior Mason Gustafson, who barreled in for the touchdown with just a minute to go until halftime. Gustafson added the two-point conversion to tie the game 8-8.


The Saints offensive line led the way for its running backs, opening running lanes on its way to over 350 yards rushing in its 24-8 victory over East Jordan Friday, September 15. Here, quarterback Tucker Shepard prepares to take the snap during the Saints first touchdown drive of the game. The Saints offensive line led the way for its running backs, opening running lanes on its way to over 350 yards rushing in its 24-8 victory over East Jordan Friday, September 15. Here, quarterback Tucker Shepard prepares to take the snap during the Saints first touchdown drive of the game. “We shot ourselves in the foot with penalties and a few mix-ups on play calls early on, but we responded well and really stepped it up,” said Coach Marshall.

The Saints took the momentum into the locker room and continued to ride it into the third quarter. The defense forced a quick punt and the offense went to work with a heavy dose of Rickley running behind a motivated and stout offensive line. A big pass play to Metz was once again wiped out by a penalty, but Shepard would connect with Metz again later on the drive for an 18-yard touchdown pass and a two-point conversion, giving the Saints a 16-8 lead at the end of three quarters.

The Saints defense continued to hold its own, preventing East Jordan from building any momentum, forcing turnovers on downs. Later in the fourth quarter, St. Ignace faced a crucial fourth down inside the red zone. With only a one-touchdown lead, the Saints were looking to ice the game away. The offensive line came through again as the Saints converted the fourth down to keep the drive alive. Junior Shawn Livingston capped off the drive with a rushing touchdown around the right edge, and the two-point conversion gave St. Ignace a 24-8 lead late in the game. East Jordan was stopped on fourth down on their final drive, enabling the Saints to run out the clock and secure their first victory of the season.

Before the game, Coach Marshall stressed to his team that he wanted to run and run well. The team got the message and responded by running for over 350 yards, led by Rickley with a career high 197 yards.

“Rickley made a freshman mistake with that fumble, but he responded really well,” said Coach Marshall. “The way he ran most of the night, you wouldn’t know he was a freshman.”

Coach Marshall also highlighted the offensive and defensive lines, saying that they opened running lanes for the backs on offense and did a good job stopping the run and pressuring the quarterback on defense. Reid Marshall and David VanHeuvelen set the tone along the line as the Saints asserted their toughness.

“I was happy for the kids, more than anything,” said Coach Marshall. “Now that we’ve got that monkey [of early losses] off our back, hopefully we will keep the momentum going.”

The Saints (1-3, 1-2 Straits Area Conference) will travel to Harbor Springs (2-2, 1-0 SAC) Friday, September 22.

“Our word has been ‘battle,’” said Coach Marshall. “Harbor Springs is well coached and is always a tough place to play. We’re going to have to be ready for another battle with a good team.”

Saints Statistics:

Passing: Tucker Shepard – 6-10, 40 yards, TD.

Rushing (Team: 54 carries, 355 yards, 2 TD): Garett Rickley, 24 carries, 197 yards; Shawn Livingston, 11 carries, 103 yards, TD; Mason Gustafson, 12 carries, 43 yards, TD; Logan DeKeyser, 5 carries, 18 yards.

Receiving (6 receptions, 40 yards): Andy Metz, 5 receptions, 36 yards, TD; Mason Gustafson, 1 reception,

4 yards.

Defense (Team: 76 tackles, three tackles for loss): Mason Gustafson, 10 tackles, one for loss; Garett Rickley, eight tackles; Andy Metz, eight tackles; Cooper Lannoo, eight tackles;

David VanHeuvelen, seven tackles; Trevor Soblaskey, seven tackles; Logan DeKeyser, forced fumble; Reid Marshall, six tackles, one for loss; Shawn Livingston, six tackles, one for loss.

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