Gladwin Football

GLADWIN

Clichés and sports go together don’t they? “Every game counts as one.” “The most important game is the next game.” “One game at a Time.” Coaches and writers use them all the time, but it’s not always true is it? Some games are more important than others.

For this years Gladwin football team, wins over Clare and Beaverton came as validation for all of the work they have put in and leads to another clichés, “hard work pays off.” Since he took over in the spring of 2019 head coach Marc Jartsfer and his staff have been preaching this very thing and the 2021 Flying G’s can now reap the reward, a Jack Pine Conference championship.

Gladwin defeated Beaverton 31-0 Friday night to secure their first undefeated Jack Pine Conference season and outright conference championship. They also brought Butch back to Gladwin. He had been away for a long time. The Flying G’s finished the conference portion of the season 7-0 and improved to 8-0 overall. 

Gladwin got on the board early with a two play scoring drive on their first possession. On first down Nick Wheeler pitched the ball to Kaden McDonald who hit Jhace Massey with a 44-yard pass to the Beaver six-yard line. Wheeler scored on the next play giving Gladwin a 6-0 lead. The first of Anna Seebeck’s four successful extra points made the score 7-0. Logan Kokotovich scored from the nine-yard line on Gladwin’s next possession giving Gladwin a 14-0 lead.

Jhace Massey ran 18 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to put Gladwin up 21-0 at halftime. A 34 yard field goal by Treyton Siegert was the only points in the third and Kokotovich’s second touchdown of the night from the one yard line in the fourth quarter made the final score 31-0.

Beaverton was able to hold the Flying G’s to their lowest point total of the season, although the offense did rack up over 500 yards. “We played a little flat at times, but overall had a solid game,” said Jarstfer. “We just didn’t finish drives like we normally do.” Gladwin had several drives stall in the red zone, which is a credit to the Beaverton defense. They were overmatched, but fought hard the whole way.

The weather was far from ideal and seemed to cause some problems with ball security, but not enough to affect the outcome of the game. It was also Homecoming week for Gladwin who was coming off of an emotional win over Clare. That and the physical toll of that game may have played a role in some of Gladwin’s mistakes. They committed an uncharacteristic 13 penalties in the game. “We have to do a better job of blocking things out, there is really no excuse,“ continued Jarstfer. “There are going to be things that come up and we have to do a better job of handling it. We still played well and had a good showing it was just not what we were accustomed to.”

Wheeler and Kokotovich had big games on the offensive side of the ball accounting for 435 yards. Wheeler was 13 of 18 passing for 197 yards and rushed for 68 yards on 14 attempts. Kokotovich rushed 21 times for 170 yards. Massey also had a big game with 51 receiving and 37 rushing yards. McDonald caught six passes for 87 yards; Aaron Kozlow had three catches for 59 yards and Trace Corlew had two for 28 yards.

The Gladwin defense held Beaverton to 168 yards and only six first downs. Hunter Huguelet was the leading tackler with seven; Wheeler, Kozlow, Earl Esiline and Brady Gehrett each had three. 

Noah Coffey led the Beaverton offense with 68 yards passing and 51 rushing. Colton Compton had two catches for 59 yards and Mitch Hall rushed for 38 yards. Hall led the defense with 9 and a half tackles. Travis Ficek had six and a half; Coffey 6, Logan Love and Justin Uhl each had five and a half.

“No one likes to lose, but I have to say that I have never been prouder of this group. We faced a highly ranked Division 5 team that scores a ton of points. We kept our composure and played as tough as we could,” said Coach Aaron Seiser. “We had our issues tonight, but our effort and attitude was never a problem. I hope that we can heal up and be ready to play next week.” The Beavers fell to 3-5 and will close out the season next week at Cass City.

Standish-Sterling is the only thing standing between Gladwin and an undefeated regular season, but Panthers will be a formidable foe. They are 7-1 and ranked eighth in Division 6 by the Detroit Free Press. “Standish will probably have the best defense that we have seen to this point,” said Jarstfer. “They are athletic, physical well coached.” Jarstfer went on to say that it would be a “good test” for his staff. “They give you different looks and don’t have a lot of tendencies. We love preparing for a game like this. It will be like a chess match.”

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