McBain Storms Back, Upsets Oscoda 14-12

November 12, 2019

George Brown drops back to pass. Photo by Ben Murphy
Gavin Sieland plows through the middle of the line for the go-ahead touchdown. Photo by Ben Murphy
McBain’s Dan Rodenbaugh returns an interception during Friday’s playoff win at Oscoda. Photo by Ben Murphy

by Ben Murphy
Sports Writer

14th ranked Oscoda delivered two early blows. Visiting McBain never flinched however, as it was able to overcome an early 12-0 hole, picked up a pair of touchdowns and used its steady defense to claim a 14-12 win in hard-fought division seven pre-district action.

“It feels great,” head coach Pat Maloney said. “We were the underdog heading in and a lot of the kids had never even been to Oscoda or knew where it was at, so there were a lot of unknowns. We had a great experience being able to come from behind and pulling out the win, for sure.”

The Owls, who had won eight games this season behind a high-powered spread offense needed just over six minutes to build a 12-0 lead. With the game’s first possession, Oscoda marched down the field, going 60 yards in 10 plays and ran a jet-sweep to the right side of the field to score from five yards out.

After McBain’s first possession stalled out, it had its ensuing punt blocked, setting up the Owls just 22-yards away from the endzone.
It took Oscoda just three plays to find pay-dirt, as it scored on a quarterback draw from three yards out, making it 12-0. From there the McBain defense took over.

“Our resolve is pretty strong, no doubt about that,” Maloney said. “We knew we weren’t playing great and that we could play better and that we just needed to make a few adjustments. They were running the spread and a lot of jet sweeps and our initial plan to contain it did not contain it, so we had to make a few adjustments and moved some players around. That made them run some things that they weren’t as proficient at running. I think we would have wanted to start the game faster but that was the hand we got dealt so we had to do the best we could from then on out.”

McBain’s defense also gave its offense a spark late in the half. With the Owls driving to the Rambler 30-yard line, Dan Rodenbaugh hauled in an interception and returned it the other way to the Oscoda 40-yard line.

The McBain offense was flagged for a false start on the ensuing drive and it appeared the turnover would be for naught as the Ramblers faced a fourth-and-15 at the 45.

George Brown lined up behind center, deep enough to leave Oscoda guessing as whether he would be punting it away or looking to convert a first down.

The Ramblers chose the latter as Brown took the snap, heaving a high-arcing pass for Gavin Sieland on the right side of the field. Sieland out-jumped an Oscoda defender for the ball at the 20-yard line and showed off his speed from there, sprinting into the end-zone for McBain’s first points of the night. Sieland also ran in the two-point conversion to pull the Ramblers within 12-8 with just over four minutes to play before the half.

“We had been tinkering around on being able to run a fake out of our pooch-punt, so we thought we would send Gavin out there deep,” Maloney said. “It was just one-on-one with the kid and Gavin was able to box him out. George put enough air on it, allowing him to catch it and from there he just ran away from the kid. It just looked like two guys in the backyard playing backyard football.”

Rodenbaugh picked off another Owl pass on Oscoda’s ensuing drive, but McBain wasn’t able to convert the ensuing drive, or a drive at the end of the half into points, allowing Oscoda to take the four-point lead into the half.

McBain started the second half with the ball and responded with the game-defining drive. The Ramblers chewed up over six minutes off the clock and drove 67-yards in 13 plays, all on the ground in their full house formation. Rodenbaugh and Sieland had several key runs each during the drive, with Sieland capping it off with a five-yard touchdown run, giving McBain the 14-12 advantage.

“We knew we were going to get the ball to start the second half so we decided to not do anything fancy, just grind it out and play a physical game and keep the ball out of their hands,” Maloney said. “The field was muddy from the snow the night before so we felt this would out-physical them and get things going in our direction. We were more than willing to go toe-to-toe with them.”

While McBain’s offense wasn’t able to score the rest of the contest, it was able to chunk time off the clock. Rodenbaugh also had another interception late in the fourth quarter, nearly allowing McBain to run out the clock.

“Turnovers are huge, we did a good job limiting ours and Dan was huge coming up with three interceptions,” Maloney said. “His first one gave us a spark and his other ones came up big, stopping drives.”

McBain was a first down away from being able to run out the clock on the Owls, but a fumble led to one final opportunity for Oscoda. The Owls recovered the fumble on their own 36-yard line with 1:55 left to play and completed three passes to reach as far as the McBain 25-yard line, before a fourth down sack gave the Ramblers the ball back with just 20 seconds left.

The Ramblers needed to take just one knee to run out the clock on the upset victory.

“We had some difficulties in a couple games earlier in the year stopping the other team’s last drive but in this game we were able to do it twice,” Maloney said. “The kids were just resilient all night. To be in a playoff game and be down by 12 and be able to keep grinding it out was a big key for our guys.”

The Ramblers were led by Rodenbaugh on offense as well, as he ran 20 times for 107 yards. Sieland added 61 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries and he also had two receptions for 61 yards and a score. Brown was five-of-20 passing for 70 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

Brown led the defense with eight tackles, Sieland and Owen Bontekoe had five tackles each and Rodenbaugh had 4.5 tackles to go with his three interceptions. Trevor Bode also added 4.5 tackles.

McBain (6-4 overall) heads to Traverse City St. Francis (7-3) on Saturday at Thirlby Field. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

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