By Joseph Hayes
PORT HURON — They came out ready, knowing they were facing one of the best programs in the state.
For most of Friday night’s game, the Port Huron High School football team played even with Warren De La Salle.
But for a three minute stretch in the first quarter, the Big Reds were outscored, 21-0, and that would be the catalyst in De La Salle’s 36-0 victory in a Division 2 district final at Memorial Stadium.
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Pilots start fast
For much of the season, the Big Reds defense has been a mighty weapon that teams have struggled against. But on Friday night, it quickly came undone for a stretch, while the Pilots took off.
De La Salle (5-4) started the game with the ball, and drove down the field for nearly seven minutes. Brett Stanley would score from 1-yard out on a run with 5:38 to play in the opening quarter to give the Pilots a 7-0 advantage.
On Port Huron’s opening drive meanwhile, senior Nijere Finney fumbled right after the kick-off and the Pilots recovered at the Big Reds 31-yard-line with 4:46 left in the quarter.
The Pilots would score on the next play on a 31-yard pass to take a 14-0 lead. That lead continued to grow to 21-0 before the end of the first quarter.
Port Huron’s offensive woes
The Big Reds offense struggled to get into rhythm early. Finney was also injured in the second quarter and just like that, the Big Reds main offensive threat was gone for the remainder of the game.
Port Huron would struggle much of the first half, and wouldn’t pick up its first offensive first down of the game until just over three minutes remaining in the first half.
Port Huron would enter halftime trailing 29-0; and despite playing better in the second half, wouldn’t challenge the remainder of the game.
Big Reds historic season
Port Huron ends the season 8-1 after winning the outright Macomb Area Conference Blue Division title.
Port Huron coach Ryan Mullins became the Big Reds all-time career winner during the season and several players from the senior class will surely be remembered among the program’s all-time greats.