L’Anse jumps out early in win over Lake Linden Thursday

Foster Miller of L'Anse skirts around the end during the first half in a high school football game against Lake Linden-Hubbell at the Purple Hornets' field on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. Miller scored three times in his team's 32-16 victory. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by Paul Peterson)

By PAUL PETERSON

Houghton Daily

Mining Gazette

L’ANSE — Playing a near-perfect first half Thursday night, the L’Anse Purple Hornets had little trouble carving out a 32-16 high school football win over the Lake Linden-Hubbell Lakes.

LL-H coach Andy Crouch was wary of the explosive offense of the Hornets coming into the nonleague contest at Volunteers Field in L’Anse.

And he had good reason as the Hornets reeled off 29 unanswered points in the first half.

L’Anse coach Mark Leaf credited good work in the trenches for his team’s second straight victory to start the season.

“Our line play was outstanding most of tonight,” Leaf noted. “I thought we controlled the line for the most part.”

L’Anse senior tailback Foster Miller did the most damage, scoring three touchdowns, including one of 70 yards in the opening quarter.

He finished with a game-high 172 yards in 16 carries.

“Foster (Miller) gives us real good balance on the ground,” Leaf said. “He can run inside, but he’s really dangerous when he gets outside.”

The Hornets also received plenty of contributions from other players, including senior quarterback Kooper Jahfetson.

Jahfetson kept the Lakes — still without the services of senior standouts Aaron Hainault and Peter Heikkinen — off-balance with his nifty footwork and accurate passing.

“He (Jahfetson) has put on some muscle this season, but he’s still pretty quick,” Leaf said.

Jahfetson clicked on 5 of 8 passes for 79 yards and a score.

The TD came on perfectly thrown spiral to senior Chase Parker late in the second quarter to increase the L’Anse margin to 29-0.

The first Hornets’ drive of the night was halted on an interception by the Lakes’ Cole Gregorie at the LLH 41-yard line early in the game.

But after halting a Lake Linden drive inside L’Anse territory later in the period, Miller took a pitchout and breezed 70 yards down the sideline. Reese Waara hit the extra-point kick to make it 7-0.

A 6-yard scoring run by Miller early in the second quarter and 2-point pass from Jahfetson to Logan Fish on a busted play upped it to 15-0.

A fumble by the Lakes later in the quarter set up another Miller scoring run of 10 yards for a 22-0 score.

That was followed by Parker’s pass reception for a score and the Hornet faithful was in full celebration mode.

Waara, who was perfect on his PAT tries, connected on a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter to up the count to 32-0.

The never-say-die Lakes got on the board with six minutes remaining when quarterback Carter Crouch spun off a nice 60-yard scoring run.

LL-H tallied again in the final minute when Kellen Klein scored from 5 yards out.

Leaf gave the Lakes credit for playing hard.

“They’re battling shorthanded right now … and missing some key people,” the L’Anse coach said. “But they played hard right to the end.”

The Hornets received strong line play from tackles Max Ostermeyer and Justin Cichosz.

L’Anse travels to Westwood on Friday to meet the 2-0 Patriots, while the Lakes face a long trip to Munising the same evening.