MARQUETTE - Alex Sherbinow and his Marquette Senior High school football teammates just didn't want their season to end Friday night.
Needing a win over previously unbeaten and Big Five No. 2-ranked Negaunee in their final regular season game to make the playoffs, the Redmen rallied for a 34-26 non-conference Homecoming triumph at William Hart Stadium in Marquette.
Sherbinow scored four touchdowns - two on individual runs of 64 yards - as MSHS improved to 5-3 on the season.
Marquette Senior High School's Alex Sherbinow, center, evades a tackle by Negaunee's Tyler LaJoie, lower left, for what became a 64-yard touchdown run during the 2nd quarter of the Redmen’s Homecoming football game on Friday. (Journal photo by Zach Jay)
"This is the happiest moment of my life," the senior tailback said after the Redmen retained The Mining Journal's Diamond Jubilee Trophy for the third straight year.
"We wanted this more than anything. We didn't want to leave this field with a loss.
Sherbinow made sure they didn't.
He rushed 35 times for 252 yards and added TDs of 4- and 5-yard runs. Sherbinow also recovered a fumble that led to Marquette's winning score.
"I think the game was controlled by our offensive line and Sherbinow ran extremely hard. He broke a lot of tackles," MSHS head coach David L'Huillier said. "We wanted to put the ball in his hands and make sure he made plays for us."
Sherbinow's first 64-yard TD gallop came on Marquette's - and the game's - second play.
"I just saw their linebackers take one step back too far. I cut it back and I was gone," he recalled. "They had no chance (to get me).
"(On the second long score), I'm not much of a speed guy, but I saw the cornerback was on his toes and I made a juke on him," he added.
"After that, I knew I could beat their safety. He had his back to me a little and I knew I had him."
The Redmen, who trailed the Miners (7-1) by a 26-14 count late in the second quarter, took the lead with 9:31 left in the game on a new play.
Quarterback Brett Place found tight end Ryan Frazier with a screen pass on fourth-and-eight at the Negaunee 25. The 6-2, 260 senior then rambled his way along the right sideline for the score.
"It's the first time we've run that play all year," L'Huillier said. "We just put it in (our playbook) on Monday, worked on it a few times (in practice) and it wound up being the play of the game for us."
After Sherbinow scored his fourth and final touchdown to give MSHS an eight-point lead, the Miners came back behind a 20-yard run by QB Tanner Uren and a personal foul call for a late hit to get the ball to Marquette's 35.
But after a 24-yard pass by Uren to Brock Weaver - his fifth reception of the game - Marquette's David Bashaw intercepted a pass the Miners had scored a touchdown on earlier in the game in the left corner of the end zone with 1:05 left.
"We made some slight (defensive) adjustments at the half and our defense really stepped it up," L'Huillier said. "The kids made the plays they should have made in the first half."
Said Negaunee head coach Paul Jacobson: "The (intercepted) pass was a little under thrown, but (the Redmen) made a play on it."
Other than Sherbinow's long TDs, the Miners controlled play in the first half.
Dustin Goupille scored on a 6-yard burst in the first quarter, then Tyler LaJoie followed a 13-yard, second-quarter TD pass from Uren to Weaver with a pair of scores to take their 26-14 advantage.
LaJoie's first score came on a 45 pass from Uren, the second on a fumble recovery LaJoie scooped up and ran 30 yards for a score.
"It was a hard-fought game and (the Redmen) played very well," Negaunee head coach Paul Jacobson said. "They scored when they needed to and we didn't have an answer for it.
"They made some (defensive) adjustments and we didn't execute as well as we wanted to."
Though he said his defense didn't execute well in the first half, Jacobson said his offense did.
"We moved the ball well and had some good plays," he said. "The second half, we didn't answer the dinner bell."
"Sometimes, losses are a good thing. We have a good team here and we just have to ... regroup a little bit."
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.