FOOTBALL: Saline Slams Skyline, 63-0, to Complete a Perfect SEC Red Season

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The Saline varsity football team is a hot knife - and getting hotter. And the SEC Red is butter.

Saline slammed Skyline, 63-0, Friday at Hornet Stadium in a contest that underlined why we have mercy rules. Historically speaking, it was Saline's 38th straight win in the SEC Red. Saline hasn't lost a regular-season game in the conference since losing at Bedford in 2013.

But as remarkable as this streak is - all the wins of yesteryear can't match the moment of celebrating a league championship with your teammates in a season that almost wasn't.

The 2020 football season belongs to THIS Saline football team, led by THESE Hornets. Still, the seniors on this team take this tradition seriously. They want to live up to their predecessors and hand off the tradition to the younger generations.

Senior Night, Football, Dance Team and Band Photo Gallery

Senior defensive lineman Brett Baldus talked about what winning the SEC Red meant to him.

"It means a lot. We pride ourselves as a defense and as a whole team to keep the tradition rolling, and keep the SEC streak going, obviously not losing an SEC game in seven years," Baldus said. "It gives the young guys something to look up to, something to keep them fired up and keep them rolling."

Senior offensive lineman Kyler Blake-Jones had similar thoughts.

"It feels awesome to continue to the legacy for the ones that came before us. This is our seventh straight SEC title, so that's huge. And it paves the way for the juniors and sophomores and sets a good example for them," Blake-Jones said.

It's not immediately clear if the SEC Conference is going to recognize Saline's championship. Athletic Director Andrew Parrish said there's talk that since the first week of the schedule was cut short due to COVID-19, the league might not have an official championship.

But whether or not the league recognizes it, the Hornets know they are champs.

"Hey, when you beat everyone that you play in the conference and there's only one team you didn't play. No matter what, unofficial, official, everybody knows. Our kids know," Palka said. "We were fired up for it. The truth is, kids want to play for that. They knew they had an opportunity tonight and I was really happy with the way they came out and started tonight."

Saline started well. And kept on playing well.

The Hornet defense, allowing just 59 yards of offense, gave the offense great field position all night. And Saline scored 63 points (56 on offense) on just 321 yards.

QB Larry Robinson went 8-for-15 for 95 yards and touchdown passes to Nathan Holmberg (1 catch, 12 yards), Nick Walper (2 catches, 41 yards) and Luke Darmos (4 catches, 40 yards). Robinson also rushed four times for 55 yards and two touchdowns, including a 49-yard run. CJ Carr played the second half with a running clock and completed seven of seven passes for 68 yards.

Josh Rush (5 carries, 35 yards), Blaise Blastos (4 carries, 12 yards) and Ryan Niethammer (3 carries, 9 yards) also rushed for touchdowns. Gavin Lytle rushed three times for 40 yards. Eric Peoples caught three passes for 41 yards and Roman Laurio caught three passes for 16 yards. Chance Bezeau and Justin Burton each caught a pass.

Gino Geherein led the defense with five tackles. Emmanuel Lupascu, John Frick and Joe Raupp each had four tackes. Collin Krasko had three tackles. 

Cade Tousa had two tackles and picked off a pass and returned it for a touchdown. Brett Baldus also had two tackles and an interception. Nick Walper blocked a punt. Carter Smith had a sack. Miller, Lupascu, Krasko and Zach Miller had tackles for a loss.

Saline's defense set the tone from the start. On the second play from scrimmage, Max Miller, who's been a force all year, tackled the Skyline runner behind scrimmage. On third and long, under pressure from the Saline defense, the Skyline QB rushed the pass and Baldus intercepted it deep in Eagle territory.

A couple of plays later, the Hornets were in the end zone on an 18-yard scoring drive.

Senior Night, Football, Dance Team and Band Photo Gallery

SCORING DRIVES

First Quarter

9:44. Saline 7, Skyline 0 - 2 plays for 18 yards in 18 seconds Robinson to Holmberg, 12-yard pass. Brayden Stavros kick.

4:19. Saline 14, Skyline 0 - 6 plays in 57 yards in 4:19. Robinson six-yard run. Stavros kick

Second Quarter

11:56. Saline 21, Skyline 0 - Six plays for 20 yards in 2:01. Rush three-yard run. Stavros kick.

6:47. Saline 28, Skyline 0. Two plays for 48 yards in 18 seconds. Robinson 48 yard-run. Stavros kick

3:47. Saline 35, Skyline 0.  Six plays for 50 yards in 2:12. Robinson to Darmos for a 24-yard pass. Stavros kick.

0:45. Saline 42, Skyline 0. Six plays for 54 yards in 1:13. Robinson to Walper for 38 yards. Stavros kick. 42-0.

Third Quarter

8:18. Saline 49, Skyline 0. Seven plays for 64 yards in 3:42. Blastos three-yard run. Stavros kick.

1:19. Saline 56, Skyline 0. Eight plays for 30 yards in 3:31. Niethammer three-yard run. Stavros kick.

Fourth Quarter

10:22. Saline 63, Skyline 0. Tousa, 42-yard interception return. Stavros kick.

INTERVIEWS

SEC RED

Team SEC OverallSaline 5-0 5-0Monroe 2-1 4-1Bedford 2-2 3-2Ypsilanti 2-2 2-3Huron 1-2 1-2Skyline 1-3 1-3Pioneer 0-4 0-4

Saline 63, Skyline 0Monroe 28, Bedford 6Ypsilanti 14 Pioneer 7

Next Week

Saline @ Grand Blanc

Grand Blanc's Record

W vs Flint Carman Answorth, 68-38L vs Davison, 21-46W @ Lapeer, 34-16W vs Saginaw Arthur Hill, 56-0Win @ Flint Powers Catholic, 56-14Senior Night, Football, Dance Team and Band Photo Gallery

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