Huge crowd watches Homecoming win

Mindy Carls
Charger Matt Knoll (42), accompanied by Brandon Larson (83), runs for seven yards in the second quarter of the varsity game on Friday, Sept. 26. Knoll finished with 120 yards to lead the Charger rushers.

About 1,800 fans created a playoff atmosphere for the  Homecoming game with Farmington on Friday, Sept. 26, at Charger Field.

Coach Jason VanHoutte expected the game to be close. After all, the two teams met in the second round of the playoffs last year, and both teams were 3-1 going into Friday’s game.

Giving their fans no reason to worry, Orion scored three times in the first quarter and went on to win 41-7.

“We came out and executed well tonight,” VanHoutte said. “We had everyone back full strength. That was a big key, too.”

The Chargers fielded more weapons than the Farmers could handle. Kennen Hutchison scored on runs of 17 and 5 yards, Ian Cooper caught touchdown passes of 16 and 20 yards from Josh Hutton, and Evan Viager found paydirt from 8 and 40 yards out.

Orion racked up 353 yards of total offense, more than twice as much as the 162 yards Farmington produced.

The Chargers did much of the damage on the ground. They rushed for 254 yards on 48 attempts. Matt Knoll rushed 15 times for 120 yards; Viager, four times for 63 yards; and Hutchison, nine times for 41 yards.

Hutton completed five of seven passes for 99 yards. Besides finding Cooper twice for 36 yards, he connected with Jordan Adkins once for 27 yards, Knoll once for 25 yards and Brandon Larson once for 11 yards.

Meanwhile, Farmington rushed 31 times for 149 yards and completed one of six passes for 13 yards.

Orion piled up 21 first downs to eight for Farmington.

The Farmers committed three turnovers, including two fumbles and an interception, and the Chargers capitalized on one of them to take a 14-0 lead.

Cooper recovered one fumble and Cody Williams the other one. Hutton picked off a pass near the end of the first half.

Orion was flagged seven times for 55 yards, while Farmington drew 10 penalties for 70 yards.

The win put Orion back into the chase for an Olympic Conference championship.

Sherrard is the only team without a loss in the conference, and Orion plays at Sherrard on Friday, Oct. 3.

Macomb, Monmouth-Roseville, Farmington and Orion all have one loss in the Olympic.

Glad to be home

After driving to Macomb twice and Lebanon once in the last two weeks, the Chargers finally got to play at home in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd.

Orion needed only 2 1/2 minutes to put the first points on the board. Hutchison capped a 59-yard drive aith a 17-yard run up the left side for a touchdown.

Hutton’s pass to Adkins for 27 yards ate up almost half of the distance Orion had to travel.

After Hutton booted the extra point, Hutchison kicked off to the Farmers. A muff forced them to start at their own 19.

On the first play, Chargers Mitchel White and Viager dropped the running back behind the line of scrimmage.

The Farmers ran a counter on the second play, but the running back dropped the ball and Williams fell on it.

Orion needed only two plays to score from the Farmington 16. Knoll was jammed at the line for no gain, but on second down Hutton whipped the ball to Cooper for a touchdown.

Hutton kicked the extra point to put Orion up 14-0 with 7:50 to go in the first quarter.

Another muff on the kickoff had the Farmers starting at their own 19 again. A false start set them back five yards.

The Farmers managed to pick up three first downs before the Charger defense stiffened.

On first down at the Orion 21, a Farmington run gained only a yard.

Charger John Taylor then tackled Jacob Blackard four yards behind the line, and on third down a holding penalty cost the Farmers another 10 yards.

Backed up to the Charger 33 on third-and-22, the Farmers threw an incomplete pass.

On fourth down, a pass gained only 13 of the 22 yards the Farmers needed.

Orion then drove 80 yards for a 21-0 lead with 15 seconds to go in the first quarter.

After a false start penalty for five yards and a sack for 13 yards, the Chargers found themselves in a third-and-23 hole at their own 8.

To get out of the hole, Hutton handed off to Knoll on a draw play. He gained 56 yards before he was brought down at the Farmington 36.

Knoll, Hutchison and Adkins carried the ball the rest of the way, with Knoll picking up 15 yards on two rushes, Hutchison gaining 13 yards on two tries (including the touchdown run), and Adkins running eight yards on one play.

Hutton’s kick again was good.

When the Farmers muffed the kickoff for the third time, they had to start from their own 12. Three plays later, they punted from the 15.

Hutton’s return set up the Chargers at their own 39. On the second play of the drive, Hutton passed to Knoll for 25 yards.

The senior quarterback also passed to Larson for 11 yards. The Farmers brought Larson down at the 14.

On the next play, a holding penalty pushed the Chargers back to the 27. Two plays later, Hutton passed to Cooper for a 20-yard touchdown with 5:38 to go in the first half.

After Hutton kicked the extra point to give Orion a 28-0 lead, Farmington launched a 73-yard drive for its first and only touchdown.

A pass interference penalty against the Chargers helped keep the drive alive.

Orion had to punt after its next possession, and Farmington had the ball at midfield with time running out in the first half.

The Farmers put the ball up, and Hutton intercepted it.

In the third quarter, the Charger defense stopped the Farmers all three times they had the ball.

Orion forced Farmington to punt from its own 33 in the third quarter.

As the fourth period began, the Farmers drove to the Orion 36 but had to turn the ball over on downs.

Later in the fourth, the Farmers fumbled at the Charger 20 and Cooper fell on the ball.

Meanwhile, the Orion offense produced two more touchdowns.

Viager capped a 38-yard drive with an eight-yard run to glory at 4:37 in the third quarter. A bad snap prevented Orion from kicking the extra point.

In the fourth quarter, the Chargers worked the ball 64 yards up the field for their final score.

Viager ran up the left side 40 yards to the end zone with 9:26 left on the clock. Hutton kicked the extra point.