FARWELL – We got our first look at the Gladwin football team last Friday night and it was easy to see the improvement. They played a fast, physical, disciplined game in Farwell and the Hornets didn’t stand a chance. The Flying G’s returned the opening kick to the 41 yard line and five plays later, Nick Wheeler scored on a quarterback keeper from the three. Three sophomores, Wheeler, Logan Kokotovich and Earl Esline, carried the ball on the opening drive behind a line that has only one senior starter, Ethan Shea.
“With everything that has gone on this year including the lack of a scrimmage, we were going into the game with some unknowns,” said Gladwin Coach Marc Jartsfer. “I knew that we had a lot of potential we just didn’t know what to expect from Farwell.” Without the benefit of advance scouting the Flying G’s prepared for full house T rushing attack. When they can out in a spread Gladwin adjusted quickly and was able to dominate the Hornets. “Our defense is based on a set of rules. It doesn’t matter how the opposition lines up. If we play by our rules, we will be in position to make plays.”
Farwell went three and out on their first drive giving the ball back to Gladwin on the 41-yard line. The G’s scored again four plays later when Wheeler took it in from the five. The big play on the drive was a 48-yard pass from Wheeler to Aaron Kozlow. Kozlow can over from Skeels and made his presence felt throughout the game. He even played a little quarterback when Wheeler was forced out of the game briefly by a bloody finger. He led a successful two-point conversion try after Gladwin’s third touchdown.
That third touchdown was also courtesy of Wheeler. He intercepted a Farwell pass and returned it 24 yards for the score. After the successful two-point conversion, Gladwin had a 21-0 lead as the first quarter came to an end. Gladwin broke the game wide open late in the second quarter with three Wheeler touchdown passes. The first came on a 17-yard pass to Koslow.
The next two scores came about as the result of Farwell fumbles. One play after a recovery on the 25 yard line Wheeler found Kaden McDonald open for a 25 yard TD. Gladwin scored again after Farwell fumbled once more on their next possession. This time Wheeler hit Lucas Mead with a 36-yard touchdown pass giving Gladwin a 40-0 halftime lead.
Cole Rodabaugh closed out the scoring in the fourth quarter when he took it in from the six giving Gladwin a 46-0 lead. “I was happy to see us play physical and stick to our plan both offensively and defensively,” continued Jartsfer. “ It was good to get out and play and build some confidence.”
Gladwin’s attack was exhibited the type of balance that Jarstfer would like to see going forward. They finished with 358 yards of total offense: with 175 yards passing and 183 yards on the ground. The defense was also stout giving up only 68 total yards. Wheeler accounted for 223 of the yards. He was 6-10 passing for 174 yards and three touchdowns, and rushed nine times for 49 yards and two touchdowns.
Kokotovich ran 10 times for 74 yards. Koslow had two catches for 67 yards, McDonald also had two receptions for 44 yards and Mead had one catch for 36 yards.
Things will get a lot tougher next week when Meridian comes to town. The Mustangs are a veteran team that gave Beaverton all they could handle before falling 6-0. They will present the type of physical challenge that was absent in the Farwell game. “Meridian has been successful for a long time,” said Jarstfer. “They were a regional finalist and have a veteran roster. They play hard nosed defense and will come right at you.”
The game will be at Brokoff Field Friday night at 7 p.m.