FOOTBALL: CJ Carr Throws 4 TD Passes as Saline Routs Skyline, 53-7
ANN ARBOR - QB CJ Carr threw four touchdown passes as Saline routed host Skyline, 53-7. Sam Frush caught two touchdown passes and Zach Antal rushed for two touchdowns.
The victory solidified Saline's spot at the top of the SEC Red with a 4-0 record. The Hornets are 5-0 overall. Skyline fell to 0-4 in the SEC Red and 0-5 overall (their lone win over Pioneer was negated due to the use of an ineligible player).
Saline has 71 "playoff points" according to the MHSAA's formula. That ranks second among the MHSAA's Division teams, behind Rockford.
The Hornets, who entered Friday's game with an 11-0 record against the Eagles, were the heavy favorites even as the injuries continued to pile up. Saline was already without starting QB Larry Robinson and RB Josh Rush, among others. This week, they also lost RB Ryan Niethammer. When the game started they lost OL Ryan Block and a short time later, they lost TE Dylan Mesman.
Yet every week, someone new steps up and the Hornets find a way to win.
"I've never seen a year like this where we continue to have so many injuries, but to the kids' credit, we have other guys stepping up," head coach Joe Palka said. "What we wanted to do tonight is come out and start fast and not leave this thing in doubt, and I thought we did that."
Early in the game, they seemed determined to deny Skyline even a glimmer of hope. Saline's defense ended Skyline's possession in short order and the Eagles punted. Saline took over at their 43. A couple of rushes by Blaise Blastos moved Saline over midfield. Carr connected with Garrett Baldwin for a long gain through the air. And then Carr zipped a pass to the slanting Roman Laurio for a touchdown. Saline led 7-0 after the extra point kick by Riley Behrman.
Skyline was able to move the ball out to midfield on its second possession after converting a 4th-and-1 to move the chains. But moments later, Garrett Baldwin intercepted an overthrown pass. Carr threw passes to Dylan Mesman and Baldwin to push over midfield. And then he found Sam Frush with a pass along the Saline sideline. Frush ran about 25 yards before diving into the end zone. Saline led 14-0 after Behrman's kick.
Saline led 14-0 after the first quarter and had the ball to start the second. On the second play of the quarter, Zach Antal ran the counter, found a hole and busted to the outside for a 29-yard rushing touchdown. Saline led 21-0.
With a little more than four minutes to play in the half, CJ Carr fired a bullet over the middle and found the slanting Caden Winston, who made the catch and than just beyond scrimmage and outran everyone to the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown reception. Saline led 28-0.
The Hornets weren't done yet. On Skyline's next drive, Blake Wilson delivered a jarring hit on an Eagle to knock the ball loose. Collin Krasko picked up the ball and returned it about 20 yards for the touchdown.
An interception by Max Koehn gave Saline the ball back at midfield with a little more than a minute to play in the half. Saline patiently moved the ball up the field. With seconds remaining in the half, Carr delivered another strike as Frush made a sliding catch in the end zone. Saline led 41-0.
The third quarter began with Skyline kicking to Saline. Just a few plays into the drive, Antal broke loose for a 60-yard touchdown run. Saline led 47-0.
The Hornets wrapped up their offense with a 34-yard touchdown run by Blaise Blastos.