By: George Pohly, Macomb Daily
PORT HURON — Michael Harper will head for the Red with his family in tow.
The Anchor Bay senior scored two defensive touchdowns and ran for another score to spark the Tars to a 55-27 victory over Port Huron in a MAC crossover football game at Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
"I couldn't have done it without the offensive line," Harper said of jaunts from his running back position. "We're all together as a team; it's awesome. We're doing exactly what we've wanted to do.
"I've been playing football for eight years. This is amazing. We're all together as a family. I don't know what I'd do without these guys. They are my brothers. We all hang out together outside of football."
The victory lifted the Tars' record to 2-0, the third consecutive year the new member of the MAC Red Division has started a season with a pair of victories.
The Anchor Bay victory, which came despite three touchdown runs by Port Huron quarterback Jonny Oriel, gave MAC Red teams a 6-0 record in weekend crossover games with the Blue Division.
Anchor Bay starts its Red schedule next week at Dakota.
Harper returned his second interception 27 yards and Al Biland added an extra point to give Anchor Bay a 21-0 lead with 8.9 seconds left in the first quarter. Harper's 40-yard return with a fumble pushed the Tars to a 41-14 lead in the third quarter, and he scored on a 23-yard return in the fourth quarter.
Parrelly boosted the lead to four touchdowns early in the second quarter when he swept right end to score from two yards out after Tar Aaron Bastian recovered a high punt snap at the two.
"Our kids came ready to play," Anchor Bay coach Mike Powell said. "We've got some kids on this team that can play, and it's very promising the way they stepped up today.
"There were a lot of bright spots."
Parrelly gave the Tars a 6-0 lead when he scored on a three-yard run after his 47-yard scamper moved to the ball to the Big Reds' 13.
Smeltekop scored on a five-yard run in the first quarter, Bryce Heaney scooted 63 yards for a TD late in the second quarter and Smeltekop scored on a 29-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Oriel scored on a nine-yard run and Kacey Szczepkowski added the extra point to cut into Anchor Bay's 28-0 lead. The shifty Oriel broke multiple tackles when he scored on a 51-yard run in the third quarter, and he added a 41-yard TD scamper later in the third to cut the Tar lead to 41-21.
Ellis Bookrum scored the Big Reds' final TD on a six-yard run on the final play of the game.
"We put ourselves in a big hole," Port Huron coach Ryan Mullins said. "I give Anchor Bay a lot of credit. They made some good adjustments from Week 1 to Week 2. They played hard right away, and it took us a while to respond. We gave up some quick scores and we gave up some big special team plays too."
Mullins said the Big Reds will continue to rely on Oriel.
"Jonny is a tough kid," the coach said. "He understands the offense really well."
Biland, a soccer player and wrestler at AB, who was a hero of the Tars' Week 1 victory when his field goal was the difference in a 16-13 victory at Ann Arbor Pioneer, made seven PATs against the Big Reds.
Port Huron is 0-2 for the second consecutive year.
In other Red/Blue crossovers, Chippewa Valley defeated Roseville 42-0; Dakota defeated Fraser 45-15; Eisenhower defeated Cousino 67-0; Romeo defeated Port Huron Northern 14-6, and Stevenson defeated Lakeview 50-13.
Anchor Bay is one of four Red teams with 2-0 records. Chippewa Valley, Dakota and Stevenson are also 2-0.
"They were huge," Powell said of the Tars' back-to-back wins before the Red schedule starts. "Our kids battled really, really hard this summer to make sure they had a good attitude. I'm proud of these kids.
"We've got 36 young men who are busting their tails to be very good. I think the kids understand that hard works brings good things."
The 55 points were the most scored by Anchor Bay since the Tars scored 55 in win over Ford in 2004.
Port Huron lost its opening game to Flint Carman-Ainsworth, 38-22.