The Hornet football team was packing up their gear and jumping onto the bus heading back for home. They had just finished their week 9 game with Central Lake ending their regular season with a stellar 8-1 record. This is where Pellston found itself in a uniquely strange place, preparing for a week 10 opponent. It seemed as though everyone was glued to their phones trying to get scoring updates to find out who and where we’d be playing. So, on Sunday night, friends and family gathered with the team at Hoppies Landing to wait and see who MHSAA had figured out would be our actual week 10 opponent. As the selection show went on and they got to the 8-Player Division 1 matchups, it was announced, as a loud applause erupted, that the Hornet football team would be hosting their first ever playoff berth against the Snowbirds of Gaylord St. Mary. So, when the team showed up for an extended week of practice, it was back to business as usual. Well, sort of. It seemed as though quite a few people had taken a keen interest in this team, and who could blame them? With standout senior leadership, led by captains, Glenn Bonter, Evan Cameron, Joey Rizzardi, and Lakota Worthington, they exemplified what it means to truly lead by example on and off the field. After the interviews were concluded, the guys were back to running plays and doing some type of conditioning that they so love to do.
With all things considered, the weather held out long enough to give the fans and teams an opportunity to view and play in good conditions especially for being the first week of November. The 8-1 Snowbirds had won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half. The Hornets, also 8-1, took to the field preparing for the opening kickoff. With the excitement of all the history making behind them, it was time for some good ole football to be played. The St. Mary team proved to be a formidable foe as they held the Hornets to no points until midway through the fourth quarter when Glenn Bonter squeezed his way into the end zone from one yard out giving Pellston their only six points of the night. It would be easy to say that the evening wasn’t a success, and from a scoreboard standpoint, you’d probably be right. However, that only tells the final score. What it doesn’t say is, we got to watch Evan Cameron take every snap this season with near perfection getting the ball back to Glenn Bonter who would, on the season, rush for 1,253 yards, score 15 touchdowns, and add another 13 touchdowns through the air. Then, there was Lakota Worthington who was able to run as fast side to side on a football field as he was able to run down the field. When teams did decide to kick it to him, we got to see all of his athleticism on full display getting a combined 7 touchdowns this season. Joey Rizzardi ended up playing both sides of the ball and virtually all special team plays. You could probably put on one hand the number of plays that he wasn’t on the field all season long. For his efforts, he finished with 95 tackles, 8 sacks, and 5 fumble recoveries.
The season has ended and the seniors have played their final snap. I’ve heard it said many times that the mark of a great team is that you leave the program better than when you started. For the last three years, the seniors have done just that, and this year’s seniors are no exception. With success fresh on their minds, it’s now up to the next group of Hornet football players to accept the challenge that has been given to them and continue to always take on every bit of adversity that gets thrown their way. Always remember to look to the past so as to gather strength for the future.
– Coach Jack Carter