The year was 1986. The Chicago Bears capped off one of the most dominating NFL seasons in history with a Superbowl victory in football. In the MLB, the New York Mets had some good luck after Bill Buckner’s infamous error, thereby winning the World Series. The Boston Celtics won yet another NBA title and finally, yet another Stanley Cup went to the Montreal Canadians. In terms of Port Huron Northern Huskies football though, 1986 also marked the last time PHN won a playoff game…UNTIL NOW! We saw the Roseville Panthers on Week 2 at Memorial Stadium as they pulled the 19-14 upset over our other team – The Port Huron High Big Reds back then. Roseville would have liked nothing more then to say they pulled another upset but this time around, it was Week 10 and Round 1 of the Playoffs. This was a different team. This was the Port Huron Northern Huskies and this time around…IT DIDNT HAPPEN as Northern walked away with a 13-7 defensive victory yet again in horrendously wet field conditions that almost completely took the pass out of the game. Here’s how THE BIG D saw this historic Northern Playoff victory on Oct. 27th from Memorial Stadium …
As you would expect in terrible field conditions, this was a sloppy/defensive minded contest basically from start to finish. The aforementioned Week 2 Big Red loss to Roseville was an excellent game for the Huskies to get an idea of what Roseville brings to the table and mainly…WHAT THEY DONT. Port Huron High scored no offensive points in that 19-14 loss as both TD’s came on special teams. A blocked punt and returned punt for a TD showed the Huskies that this was definitely an area they had the advantage on the Panthers being as Northern also excelled with special teams play all season long. It happened right away for Northern as Husky DL – Kofe Kimbrell blocked a punt, setting the Huskies up with an early first and goal situation that RB – Theo Ellis (19 carries for 107 rushing yards) capitalized on with a 3 yard TD scamper on the very next play to make it 7-0 Huskies already. To me, Kimbrell is without question the Husky player of the year as both his defense and special teams play has been rock solid all season. This game was certainly no different as he was a force to Roseville ALL NIGHT LONG! Not long after, Roseville answered Kimbrell with a TD of their own as they came back down the field on the Huskies and backup RB – Daivon Lowman scored from 20 yards out to tie the game at 7. In my opinion, Lowman shocked Northern who prepared to face starting RB – LeVonte Harris. When we last saw Harris, he too had a monster game vs. the Big Reds but an early injury put him out of this one. Lowman didnt look like a backup RB at all though. This is a talented Sophomore who’s only flaw is that perhaps he didnt see the field enough in 2017?!? Lowman is certainly the future of Roseville and in this game he more then showed why. You could argue, Lowman was the entire Panther offense in this game where Mother Nature ruled out. Roseville QB – Damon Rhiley was another huge reason that Roseville upset Port Huron High earlier on. He seemed faster then the Big Reds to the edge on most occasions but on a field this sloppy, on a night this rainy, Rhiley was an obvious non-factor which definitely benefited Northern but clearly the rain was taking away a talented Husky passing game which without question benefited the Panthers.
It was just 7-7 as the third quarter began. The rain continued and didnt stop for the rest of the night. The third quarter came and went with no scoring either thus, this game was going to be decided in the final frame and in a game like this, I figured special teams may just decide it other then the obvious…the team who plays the better defense would be rewarded for it. That ended up being the Huskies D but only after the offense earned one more TD which ended up being the game winner! For the past 2 weeks, PHN has used SB – David Harris in surprising situations where they try and sneak him into the play. Why not? It certainly seems to work as it did here. Last week vs. PH, Husky QB – Seth Klink play faked to RB – Ellis with a power set/goal line offense and found Harris on a rollout TD. This time it was the same set-up but without the rollout. Either way, simple play action was more then enough as Klink found Harris on the fake to Ellis yet again. Not only that but for the second week in a row Harris was WIDE OPEN again! After a missed Husky extra point that was re-done 4 or 5 times due to penalties, mishaps and quite frankly – THE TWILIGHT ZONE, Northern took a 13-7 lead with 5 minutes to play! It would be the end of the scoring as Northern’s defense stood strong and then some! This might have been Husky LB – Siah Curry’s best game yet! Curry was a wildman…all over the field, covering ground, making tackles and throwing the Panthers off their game. I love sideline-to-sideline tackling and Curry certainly showed what it means to tackle laterally! Not only that but he was REALLY frustrating the Roseville fans. Take it from THE BIG D who was announcing just above them…#33 was NOT a favorite of Panther fans and that folks…is as high a compliment as a player can get!!! I said going into this game that the Husky offense HAD to use their 2 senior WR’s – Noah McNutt and Steve Mason. That’s exactly what Klink tried to do and although WR – Steve Mason was shutdown/not used for much of this game, he still had a key catch at mid-field on the Husky game-winning scoring drive! McNutt however was used for a lot of the game as his 4 catches for 76 yards indicated. McNutt also made 5 tackles on defense out of the defensive backfield. One tackle in particular on RB – Lowman saved a go-ahead TD for Roseville that might have even led to more or scary enough..won them the game. Props to McNutt for having the best all around game of any Husky PERIOD!!!
This was the 8th straight victory for the 2017 Port Huron Northern Huskies. The only flaw out of the 10 games was in Marine City on Week 2 and I honestly think that if the game was played again, it would probably be a different story because the Huskies would probably come out of that game having played better defense then the 48 points they gave up initially. At 9-1 though, this Northern team has showed many qualities this season. They’ve won close/low scoring games and they’ve been victorious when scoring alot too. Props have to go out to the Husky D though as this 11-man unit is playing great football at the most important time, just as it has all year long. The Huskies can now say they accomplished 3 major goals in 2017. They won the rivalry game vs. Port Huron, earned the right to host a home playoff game and they were victorious in doing so. How sweet it is! Next week will certainly be a HUGE test for PHN though as Warren DeLaSalle is coming to town. DeLaSalle is always a major powerhouse and without question will be tough to beat but the Huskies have the advantage of the Memorial Stadium crowd which DeLaSalle wont have. In my opinion the Huskies need to come right at Warren DeLaSalle and not sit back. They cant be afraid to attack them. NEVER SIT BACK ON A POWERHOUSE. ATTACK THE POWERHOUSE BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE!!! Above all of that though, for now, let’s celebrate this win, Port Huron Northern! It’s been a long time since our Huskies have been in this position and OH HOW SWEET IT IS! In the future…when someone asks the question – “When was the last time the Port Huron Northern Huskies had a playoff win?” you can now tell them – “2017!” Sounds a lot better then 1986 doesn’t it? Best of luck to PHN in next week’s Round 2 of the playoffs and win or lose…Huskies, thanks for making 2017 a special season for so many people … including your announcer!
-THE BIG D
From top to bottom …
Husky WR/CB – Noah McNutt was a HUGE contributing factor in this one
Husky RB – Theo Ellis keeps on a rumbling
Husky QB – Seth Klink had a tough time in such horrible weather conditions but hey … HE GOT IT DONE in the end!