Gladwin Football

Photo courtesy of Kierstin Hale

GLADWIN

Undefeated, it’s been a long time coming or it happened in the blink of an eye. It all depends on your frame of reference. The last time Gladwin completed an undefeated regular season was in 1979, 42 years ago. That’s one way you could look at it. Another is that in just three short years Marc Jarstfer and his staff have taken the Flying G’s from 1-8 to 9-0. Either way it has become a season that many will remember for a long time.

Gladwin brought Standish-Sterling to town last Friday and on paper it looked like a good matchup. Gladwin entered the game as the sixth ranked team in Division 5. The Panthers were the eighth ranked team in Division 6 and as they have done all year the Flying G’s won going away 31-7. 

The Flying G’s didn’t waste anytime putting the game out of reach. They scored three first quarter touchdowns to take an early 21-0 lead. Logan Kokotovich got Gladwin on the board first with a short touchdown run. Anna Seebeck had another perfect night kicking the first of her four extra points to make it 7-0.

Nick Wheeler scored from 14 yards out putting Gladwin ahead 14-0 before Kokotovich scored his second touchdown of the night. That score, late in the first quarter tied him with Doug Redman for the most touchdowns in a single season at 21. A record that had stood since 1961, a long time no matter how you look at it. Kokotovich broke the record in the fourth quarter on a three-yard run. Gladwin used a relatively new short yardage package that they had installed two weeks ago. The Flying G’s bring in two extra linemen and basically push their way into the end zone.

Sandwiched between Kokotovich’s second and third touchdown was a 20 yard field goal by Treyton Siegert and a 75 yard passing touchdown by Standish to make the final score 31-7. Besides his record and three touchdowns, Kokotovich also rushed for 170 yards on 28 carries. Nick Wheeler was 10-17 passing for 160 yards and he also ran for 54 yards. Kaden McDonald had six receptions for 109 yards.

Hunter Huguelet led the defense with five tackles. Wheeler had four and a half and Braden Ritchie had four. Kokotovich had two tackles for a loss and Jhace Massey had a sack. The Flying G’s also took the ball away three times. McDonald tied a 49-year-old record held by Leo Plude when he collected his sixth interception of the season. Aaron Kozlow also had an interception and Kokotovich recovered a fumble.

With the regular season behind them the Flying G’s now set their sights on Clare for the second time this year. They won the earlier contest 48-42, but know that Kelly Luplow and his staff will make adjustments. “It’s an enormous game for us, but being that it is a win or go home situation any game would be. With Clare there is another element. We know each other so well, I’m from there, and we have played multiple times since I’ve been in Gladwin,” said Coach Marc Jarstfer. “We are very similar. We both have an explosive offense and tough players on the defense. I think it will come down to whoever possesses the ball better and maintains possession.” Jarstfer told me the same thing prior to the first matchup and he was right on. In the last game Clare had two turnovers Gladwin had none, but they did recover an onside kick. That one extra Gladwin possession gave the Flying G’s some space and they won by six. “Anytime you get to the playoffs you have to take care of the ball and make the most of your possessions and play smart football. That’s what we are going to try to do.”

“Clare will have to make some adjustments and we will have to make some adjustments,” continued Jarstfer. “ I’m sure we will have to both make adjustments on the fly because football is basically a chess match.” Jarstfer has mentioned several times that this is the kind of game he likes. Both teams are able to scheme and match personal and both do it well. 

“This is the type of environment that we want to play in, I don’t think it has been like this in Gladwin for quite sometime. We expect the field to be packed for both sides. I think that it will be everything that you hope for and kids dream of. Hopefully we will do enough things right to pull out the win.”  The teams play Friday night at 7 p.m.

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