Wildcats fall to Gaylord in Big North Conference opener

By Brandon


Gaylord Herald Times

GAYLORD–Alpena had two opportunities with under three minutes left to make a comeback. 

And both times Gaylord’s defense stood tall, beating the Wildcats 31-22 in its Big North opener Friday at Gaylord Intermediate School.

Quarterback Ryan Stefanski rushed for three touchdowns, including a 9-yard score that iced the win at 10:39 in the fourth. 

Gaylord (3-0) visits Ogemaw Heights for a non-conference game Friday. Alpena (2-1) heads to Cadillac for a league game. 

The first half was all Blue Devils (3-0), as Stefanski rushed for a pair of 9-yard scores and threw a TD pass to James Miller in the red zone. Corey Deer buried a 31-yard field goal to ensure Gaylord a 24-6 halftime advantage. 

Alpena fought back in the third quarter. First, Logan Guthrie, who also rushed for a 3-yard TD in the opening quarter, punched in a 6-yard run to trim the Wildcats’ deficit to 10 points with. Then Bob Sheldon raced up the middle for an 11-yard TD to make it a 24-22 game with 1:50 left in the third. 

The Wildcats had two possessions in the fourth to win it all, but they were stopped on each drive. That included Gaylord linebacker Cade Foster tackling Guthrie on 4th and 13 in the final minute. 

Guthrie had 18 carries for 110 yards, two touchdowns and three two-point conversions. Zak Suszek had five carries for 19 yards and Sheldon had 10 carries for 91 yards and a score.

Jordan Schultz had seven carries for 74 yards.

Guthrie led Alpena’s defense with seven tackles and Suszek had five.