It was a tale of two halves for the Alpena football team on Friday night during homecoming against Cheboygan.
The first half featured Alpena fighting strong and holding its own against a hard-hitting Cheboygan team to play to a 14-14 halftime tie.
The second half found Alpena being dominated by Cheboygan and eventually losing 42-14.
News Sports Photo by Eric Benac
Ashton Dever (11) jukes to avoid Stan Swiderek (83) while Colton Hudak (55) rushes to catch up. Dever had 105 rushing yards in Alpena’s defeat against the Cheboygan Chiefs.
Alpena head coach Jason Dubey commented on the successful first half.
"We did a really good job in the first half," Dubey said. "Executed well in every aspect of the game. We had that big stop at the end of the first half which was a huge stop."
Cheboygan moved steadily up the field on its first drive and with 4:47 to play in the quarter, Cheboygan's Andrew Dixon ran for a 10-yard touchdown.
Alpena answered back with a 15 yard touchdown from Ashton Dever with 1:36 left, with a field goal tying the game 7-7.
Dever led the team with 17 carries for 105 yards.
On the next drive, Cheboygan running back Nik Bevier ran 70 yards for a touchdown with 1:20 left on the clock. The extra point brought the game up to 14-7.
Alpena's next drive was moving strongly when Ben Pearson intercepted Marwede. Alpena's defense then stopped Cheboygan the ball on downs with 7:26 left in the second quarter.
Alpena marched down the field on the next drive, getting four first downs, including a big 25 yard gain by Dever with 5:10 left in the half. Jordan Ferguson then ran in the touchdown at 1:38 left in the half. An extra point tied the game.
Cheboygan head coach Jack Coon praised Alpena for its excellent play in the first half.
"A lot of credit needs to go to Coach Dubey and his boys. Their offense did an excellent job fighting us and kept us on our toes. Ashton Dever especially. That boy's got some speed on him," Coon said.
The second half immediately started poorly for Alpena as the Wildcats were forced to punt and the punt was returned for a 45 yard touchdown at 10:07 left in the half with the extra point bringing the game up to 21-14.
Things never looked up for Alpena after that and the Wildcats punted on their next drive.
Cheboygan then ran a clock-killing drive that took 11 plays and five first downs and saw Bevier score on the one-yard rush. The game was then 28-14 after the extra point.
Alpena continued to have trouble moving the ball and Dubey noticed the change in his team's play.
"For whatever reason we just fell apart," he said. "They came out strong and after they scored on that punt it was the turning point. The rest of the game was mishandled and played poorly."
Marwede threw his second interception two plays later, again into Pearson's hands.
Marwede connected on six of 22 passes for a total of 65 yards and three interceptions.
After a strong defensive stand, Alpena drove down the field again and was about 15 yards from scoring, but on fourth down Marwede threw his third interception of the night with six minutes left in the game.
Cheboygan scored on its next drive with four minutes left in the game with an extra point bringing the game up to 35-14.
After Alpena punted on it's next drive, Cheboygan scored three plays later when Jeff Bursey ran 44 yards to score with about 3:20 left in the game.
A power surge knocked out the scoreboard at this point and the game was ended shortly thereafter.
Coon was pleased with his team's results after the game.
"It's good to be back on the winning side," he said. "We came into the second half strong. We didn't come out flustered but just played a better style of football."
Bevier finished with 143 yards on 17 carries and Stan Swiderek was the Chiefs' leading receiver with 99 yards on four catches. Damon Proctor was 7-of-10 passing for 163 yards.
Coach Dubey emphasized the importance of execution in the game.
"We're going back to the basics to master our execution," he said. "We gotta start executing those big plays and taking advantage of those."
Alpena plays at Cadillac next Friday.
Alpena JV tied Cheboygan 26-26 on Thursday and the Alpena freshman team won 44-28.