Youth shows promise at MTU spring football game

Courtesy of MTU Athletics

HOUGHTON, Mich. — A 51-yard passing play from Isaiah Hackney to Anthony Root and a pass breakup by Aidan Wienke near the goal line in the final two minutes were the big plays in Team White’s 10-3 victory over Team Black in Michigan Tech’s annual spring intrasquad game played today at Sherman Field.

The game feature strong defense from both teams with three combined takeaways plus two more fumbles that halted drives.

Team Black held possession of the football for 21:13 of the opening half but only had three points to show at the intermission. A seven-play drive to the White five-yard line was stopped by a fumble early in the second quarter.

After forcing a punt, the Black shirts converted with a 26-yard Garrett Mead field goal with :16 showing before halftime.

The teams battled for field position to start the second half before Hackney connected with Root on a verticle route down the middle. Brett Gervais made a touchdown-saving tackle at the one, but fullback Zack Skeels punched it in for the game’s only touchdown with 1:19 left on the third-quarter clock.

After DeShawn Nelson intercepted a Tyler Scarlett pass, White had the ball at the Black 38. Five plays later, Bautch put through a 28-yard field goal for a 10-3 advantage.

Black turned the ball over on downs at midfield midway through the fourth quarter, but got it back three plays later when Wes Kuuttila picked off a Hackney pass.

Scarlett then drove his Black Team down to the White 10-yard line. Passes on third and fourth down were knocked away, giving the ball back to the White.

Ross Michaels 12-yard rush on third-and-11 iced the game for the White.

“I’m very pleased,” said head coach Tom Kearly. “We had a lot of young people take their game to the next level, and that’s going to help us be a better football team come next fall.

“We saw a lot a good things from both teams. There were some big plays, and it was an exciting game.”

Hackney finished 4-for-7 for 69 yards. He shared time at quarterback with Jacob Brown. Kevin Miller was the game’s leading rusher with 40 yards on 10 carries for the White Team.

Root hauled in four passes for 83 yards. His counterpart on the Black Team, Andrew Clark, had 82 yards on seven catches.

Scarlett threw 36 times, completing 14 for 117 yards.

Linebacker Paul Kuoppala led all defensive players with 10 tackles including seven solos.

Michigan Tech has wrapped up spring drills for 2014. The Huskies will open their 2014 season next fall with a Sept. 4 game at Wayne State.