By Greg Gielczyk
After the game, head coach Charlie Gunsell made the ceremonial final walk to midfield with his seniors, and then returned to the end zone.
The Orioles, who improved to 3-5, made sure it would be a happy walk, but it was still one that the seniors took with mixed feelings as they know it would be their last game on Oriole Field.
“I think we played really well on the edges, both offensively and defensively,” Gunsell said. “We had a couple mismatches that we were able to take advantage of.
“We ran a lot of option football in the first half, and it resulted in a lot of big plays for us. But, I just think the kids played with a lot of focus, they executed very well, and we were able to create some big plays.
“Defensively, we kind of held them in check all night. They got one late on us. Overall, just a really good team effort, offense, defense and special teams.”
Ludington jumped on the Lions for a pair of scores in the first quarter to build a 14-0 lead.
The Orioles got the first one on a one-yard plunge by quarterback Trey Forfinski with 5:12 remaining in the first quarter, and Miles Wilson added the exra point kick for a 7-0 lead.
A little less than four minutes later Forfinski called his own number again, this time busting in from 15 yards out. Wilson again booted the point after for a 14-0 lead with 1:46 to play in the first period.
The Orioles increased their lead to 21-0 with just a littel less than two minutes gone in the second quarter, as Aiden Gilchrist sprang loose for a 40-yard sprint and again Wilson added the point after at the 10:11 mark of the second.
Forfinski went to the air for the next Orioles score, hitting Gilchrist with a 45-yard scoring strike and Miles kicked the point after as the Orioles lead grew to 28-0 at the half.
The passing game continued to click in the second half for the Orioles, as Forfinski completed a short five-yard strike to Nathan Gilchrist for the final Orioles score. at 4:40 of the third quarter.
Morley Stanwood finally punehed one in with just 34 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve struggled this year. It’s no secret,” Gunsell said. “We’ve had our ups and downs. But, we came off last week’s heartbreaking loss to Belding (in overtime), and the kids kind of carried that momentum over into tonight.
“They played with a lot of energy, and it just felt good. It was our seniors last game at Oriole Field and it was a pretty emotional night for those guys.
“Proud of our kids, and proud of our staff and community. It’s good night to be an Oriole.”
Forfinski was 6-of-9 passing for 134 yards and two TDs. Wilson Gunsell completed 4-of-6 for 70 yards.
Aidan Gilchrist had three receptions for 102 yards and a score. Caleb Smith caught two passes for 36 yards, Forfinski caught one for 32, Gunsell had one for 15 and Stephen Weinert had one reception for 12.
Ludington was led in rushing by Forfinski, who had 70 yards on eight attempts, while Aidan Gilchrist gained 60 yards on just two carries.
Levi Laman led the Orioles defense with seven tackles, Gage Jones was in on six stops and Aidan Gilchrist and Aric Storm each were in on five tackles.
The Orioles close out the regular season at North Muskegon, which defeated Mason County Central, 35-0 Friday, next week.