CLARE – Gladwin gave the seventh ranked Pioneers all they could handle for three quarters last Friday before finally running “out of gas” in the fourth. Clare scored first with 4:52 left in the first quarter, but Gladwin answered on the next drive when quarterback Dillon Kroening hit Jake McLemore with a 29-yard touchdown pass.
The teams traded touchdowns to end the quarter tied at 14. The Gladwin touchdown came on another pass from Kroening to McLemore this time for 63 yards.
Gladwin took its first lead of the game at 7:07 of the second quarter when Kroening took it in from the three-yard line. Clare answered a little over a minute later when they scored on a trick play, a 63-yard halfback pass. After Clare turned the ball over on downs at the 26-yard line Gladwin had one more opportunity before halftime. The G’s responded with Kroening throwing his third touchdown pass of the day – a 54-yarder to freshman Kaden McDonald, giving Gladwin a 28-21 halftime lead.
Clare scored the only touchdown of the third quarter, leaving the game tied at 28 heading into the fourth. While they eventually lost 55-28, Gladwin’s performance proved that they could compete. Going toe-to-toe with the defending Jack Pine Champs for three quarters proved that. The Flying G’s ran out of gas and couldn’t match the Pioneers late in the game. Coach Marc Jarstfer mentioned that “Smedley was unbelievable he never slowed down.” Colt Smedley finished with 219 rushing yard on 22 carries for Clare.
Jarstfer is happy with the improvement from week one to week two. “We are definitely heading in the right direction,” he said. He went on to say that if our kids have the right mindset they should be able to compete with anybody on the schedule. “A lot of good things came out of the game.”
Kroening was 14 of 27 for 302 yards and three touchdowns passing and ran for a TD on 30 yards rushing. McLemore had four receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns. McDonald had catches for 103 yards and a touchdown and Nick Robinette had four receptions for 57 yards before having to leave the game with an injury. Mason Smith, Kole Thurlow and McLemore all had nine tackles to lead the Gladwin defense.
Friday night is the home opener for Gladwin. Jack Pine foe Farwell will be in town for the game at 7 p.m. It will also be youth night at the stadium. All third through eighth players wearing their jerseys will get in for free.