The Gatorade poured down on Ann Arbor Huron football head coach Antaiwn Mack as jubilant fans rushed up to greet the football team as the final seconds ticked off the clock Friday night at Huron’s Riverbank Stadium.
Huron snapped its five-year, 39-game losing streak, which was the longest in the state, with a 63-14 thrashing of Ecorse in the season opener.
“We believed that if we kept our heads high, we could end the streak, and we went out and did it together, as a family,” said Huron quarterback Tyson Edmondson.
Mack not only said he believed his team would win but took it one step further – saying “they deserved the win.” And they certainly did.
The River Rats got off to a fast start and never looked back. After forcing a three-and-out on Ecorse’s first drive, Huron junior WR/DB Jaylin Matthews returned the punt to the Ecorse 38-yard line. On Huron’s first play from scrimmage of the season, junior RB/DB Aaron Winston found a huge gap and took the ball 38 yards up the left sideline for a Huron touchdown.
The extra point was no good. Huron led 6-0 just 40 seconds into the game.
It didn’t stay 6-0 long. The River Rats took over on Ecorse’s 33-yard line after recovering a poor snap on an Ecorse punt attempt. One play later, Edmondson found Matthews for a 33-yard touchdown pass. Adama Samaha made the extra point, pushing the River Rats’ lead to 13-0 with 6:57 remaining in the first quarter.
Ecorse almost cut Huron’s lead in half late in the first quarter. The Red Raiders drove the ball to Huron 1-yard line, but Huron HB/LB Brandon Rawls came up with a huge run stop, pushing the ball back to the 5-yard line. On the next play, Huron safety Cameron Donnell intercepted a pass in the end zone, ending the drive.
Huron then scored on a three-play, 72-yard drive. After an Ecorse penalty and a 35-yard rush by Winston set the River Rats up in the red zone, Edmondson hit senior WR Mike Davis with a perfect throw in the corner of the end zone for another Huron touchdown on the final play of the first quarter. Samaha’s extra point made it 20-0 at the end of the quarter.
After forcing a punt to start the second quarter, a great return by Matthews took the ball to the Red Raiders’ 12-yard line. Two plays later, Winston scored on a four-yard run, his second of the game. Samaha’s extra point gave the River Rats a 27-0 lead with 9:01 remaining in the first half.
On the Red Raiders’ next drive, Donnell came up with his second interception of the game, setting up Huron in Ecorse territory. The River Rats took advantage, as Samaha nailed a 47-yard field goal to give Huron a 30-0 lead with 4:57 remaining in the first half.
Huron then scored again after recovering a fumble. One play after the turnover, Winston scored on a 10-yard touchdown rush, his third of the game, to give Huron a 37-0 lead with 2:51 remaining in the first half.
Ecorse finally got on the board with a highlight-reel 29-yard touchdown pass from QB Darius Cross to WR DeAndre Gaines that cut Huron’s lead to 37-6 with 58 seconds remaining until halftime.
But the River Rats were not content with a 31-point halftime lead. Edmondson found WR Kingsley Perkins wide open for a 64-yard pass play all the way down to Ecorse 2-yard line. Winston scored his fourth touchdown of the game on the next play to increase the River Rats’ lead to 44-6 with 24 seconds remaining in the half.
The Huron onslaught continued as Donnell came up with an interception and returned it 55 yards for a Huron touchdown as time expired to end the first half. The extra point was no good as Huron took a 50-6 lead into halftime.
Huron began the second half right where it left off. Junior RB Balint Shannon scored on a 20-yard TD run, capping a three play, 49-yard drive. The extra point was blocked. Huron extended its lead to 56-6 with 9:26 remaining in the third quarter.
Ecorse managed a second touchdown on a five play, 78-yard drive that concluded with a six-yard touchdown run by RB Jamal Hamiel. The Red Raiders converted a two-point conversion, pulling the score to 56-14 with 11:51 remaining in the contest.
With the already raucous crowd counting down the final seconds of the game, the crowd was sent into a frenzy when Huron freshman DB Torrence Greene provided the icing on the cake, intercepting a pass and returning it for the River Rats’ second pick-six of the game. Samaha’s extra point was good, and the River Rats led 63-14.
The River Rats (1-0, 0-0 SEC Red) will travel to Flint to take on Flint Kearsley in next week’s game. The game will be played at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6 at Kearsley High School. Kearsley (1-0) also won its season opener, scoring a 41-21 victory over Bay City Western.
“It’s going to be a hard game. They’ve got a good football team,” Mack said. “Great quarterback, big up front, so we’re going to have to put in some work this week.”
ALL PHOTOS BY LISA EDMONDSON
11:20 – Huron – Aaron Winston 38 yard TD run (PAT fails) – Huron 6, Ecorse 0
6:57 – Huron – Jaylin Matthews 33 yard TD pass from Tyson Edmondson (Adama Samaha kick) – Huron 13, Ecorse 0
0:00 – Huron – Mike Davis 20 yard TD pass from Edmondson (Samaha kick) – Huron 20, Ecorse 0
9:01 – Huron – Winston 4 yard TD run (Samaha kick) – Huron 27, Ecorse 0
4:57 – Huron – Samaha 47 yard field goal – Huron 30, Ecorse 0
2:51 – Huron – Winston 10 yard TD run (Samaha kick) – Huron 37, Ecorse 0
0:58 – Ecorse – DeAndre Gaines 29 yard TD pass from Darius Cross (2-pt. conversion fails) – Huron 37, Ecorse 6
0:24 – Huron – Winston 2 yard TD run (Samaha kick) – Huron 44, Ecorse 6
0:00 – Huron – Cameron Donnell 55 yard interception return TD (PAT fails) – Huron 50, Ecorse 6
9:26 – Huron – Balint Shannon 20 yard TD run (PAT fails) – Huron 56, Ecorse 6
11:51 – Ecorse – Jamal Hamiel 6 yard TD run (2-pt. conversion succeeds) – Huron 56, Ecorse 14
0:45 – Huron – Torrence Greene interception return (Samaha kick) – Huron 63, Ecorse 14
Other SEC Red Division Scores
Ann Arbor Pioneer 13, New Baltimore Anchor Bay 7
Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 35, Saline 21
Sterling Heights Stevenson 32, Temperance Bedford 7
Warren Mott 35, Ann Arbor Skyline 6
Wyandotte Roosevelt 28, Monroe 21
SEC Red Division Standings
Huron (1-0, 0-0 SEC Red)
Pioneer (1-0, 0-0 SEC Red)
Monroe (0-1, 0-0 SEC Red)
Saline (0-1, 0-0 SEC Red)
Temperance Bedford (0-1, 0-0 SEC Red)
Skyline (0-1, 0-0 SEC Red)