HARBOR BEACH — No need for a fourth-quarter comeback this time.
Harbor Beach’s defense held early, and then the Pirates relied on do-it-all junior Sloan Klaski to turn what was a Week 4 nailbiter into a Week 10 romp.
Klaski scored five touchdowns — three rushing, one receiving and one on an interception return — helping the Pirates roll to a 40-7 victory over Brown City here Friday night in a Division 7 opening round playoff game.
“For everyone on this team, this is their first playoff win — so the kids are excited,” said Harbor Beach coach Troy Schelke.
The 10-0 Pirates now face another rematch, this one with 8-1 Reese for the district championship. That game is slated for 7 p.m. Friday. The Rockets advanced with a 41-27 opening round victory over Sandusky.
Klaski rushed 14 times for 126 yards, scoring on runs of 3, 10 and 45 yards. He also hauled in a 16-yard scoring strike from Eli Kraft, and then capped his huge night with a 28-yard interception return.
It was a far cry from the teams’ Week 4 meeting when the Pirates needed a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to rally and beat the Green Devils.
This one was basically over at halftime when the Pirates took advantage of a Cody Pfaff fumble recovery and made it 21-0 with less than a minute to play before the break.
“The kids really love to run the two-minute offense, and they ran it to perfection right before the half,” Schelke said.
Brown City workhorse Nate Primeau, who had 252 yards in the Week 4 contest, was held to 78 yards on 15 carries.
“They were able to contain Primeau and force us to throw the football, something we don’t want to do,” said Brown City coach Scott Banks. “Give them credit, they are a very good football team.”
Added Schelke: “Defensively, I thought we really played well early on. Our defense kept stuffing them and giving us chances.”
The story of the night, though, was Klaski, who did his damage in a variety of ways, including an electric leap over a defender into the end zone on his score right before the half.
“He’s been a really good athlete since he was very young,” Schelke said. “But this summer, he’s really worked his tail off. And at practice, he works, too.
“Now, he’s doing a lot of film study and he’s seeing stuff. The first time we played these guys, he was like, ‘You know, I really didn’t understand where to run on these traps.’ But now, he’s really seeing things and has really developed.”
Besides Klaski, Kraft added 76 yards while Aaron Ginther notched 51 yards, including an 8-yard TD in the third quarter for Harbor Beach’s final tally.
Defensively, Klaski had 13 tackles while Josh Keyes and Derek Pfaff added nine stops. Ginther chipped in two interceptions.
Brown City avoided the shutout with a 6-yard TD reception from Tyler Banks in the fourth quarter.
Schelke gave credit to some of his younger players for the victory
“Our JV kids that came up this week really increased the spirit at practice,” he said.
“They were a big part of this, too. Some played, some didn’t, but it was good to have those guys up and have a little more depth.”
Now, the Pirates get a Week 3 rematch with Reese, which dropped a 30-16 decision to Harbor Beach for its only loss of the season.
Brown City finishes 6-4.
A few photos...