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Trojans trounce Alpena on homecoming night

Courtesy Photo/Jonny Zawacki Traverse City Central running back Reed Seabase (5) breaks free on his way to an 87-yard touchdown in the first quarter of a Big North Conference football game Friday at Wildcat Stadium.

ALPENA — The Alpena High football team entered Friday’s Big North Conference finale riding high after an emotional win last week.

The Wildcats welcomed seventh-ranked Traverse City Central and a homecoming crowd was a witness to just how talented the Trojans were as they spoiled the Friday festivities with a 56-7 blowout victory.

“We practiced hard all week and focused on limiting the big plays defensively, but it’s just hard to mirror the speed that they have,” Alpena coach Eric Mitchell said. “You just can’t truly game plan for it, because it’s difficult to imitate that kind of speed. We talked about it, we know they had it, but until you see it first hand, you don’t realize how tough it is to stop.”

Alpena held its homecoming game, but former Alpena native and Trojan running back Reed Seabase enjoyed a return to Alpena by putting on a clinic; scoring a touchdown and rushing for 162 yards on just five carries. 

Along with Seabase, Josh Klug and Carson Bourdo each were no stranger to the end zone on Friday as the trio of playmakers accounted for all of Central’s scores. The Trojans wasted little time finding pay dirt as they ran just 11 plays in the first half and scored on on five of them.

Central opened the scoring just over a minute into the game when Klug broke off a 26-yard touchdown run.

Klug scored three touchdowns serving as the team’s quarterback as the Trojans starting quarterback and Notre Dame commit, Josh Burnham was held out of the game.

The Wildcats had success moving the ball and quarterback Ryan Voltz got into a rhythm with his receivers. He completed 12 of 15 passes in the first half, but had a few drives stall out.

Despite a nine-play opening drive, the Wildcats were forced to punt and the Wildcats pinned Central at its own three yard line.

Two plays later, Seabase ripped off an 87-yard touchdown run to extend the lead.

Central took a three-score lead early in the second quarter when Klug connected with Dante Williams for a 49-yard score and the rout was on as Alpena couldn’t match the Trojans’ speed and athleticism.

The Wildcats did find the end zone late in the half after finishing a successful 13-play drive that resulted in a three yard touchdown plunge from Kadyn Budnick.

Despite the score, Alpena faced a 35-7 deficit.

“Credit to our kids. We played hard all night and despite what the final score reads, we did do a lot of things well tonight and we did improve,” Mitchell said. “We were able to move the ball, we just weren’t able to get the stops. I was very happy with the way we were able to move the football tonight against a very good team.”

Central added three more scores in the second half to close out the night.

Alpena will take the long trip north to Escanaba next Friday before wrapping up the 2021 season at home against St. Johns.

“We are looking forward to these final two games. We know that these are winnable games and they are important games for us as a program,” Mitchell said. “These next two weeks are going to be smash mouth football games and we’re not going to see speed like we saw tonight. Again, for us, these two final games we want, we need and got to have.”

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