BEAVERTON – Coaches are fond of saying, “next man up” because no one wants to use injuries as an excuse. When Beaverton quarterback Trent Reed went down late in the fourth quarter it was time for someone else to step up and take charge. The Flying G’s had scored 14 points late in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 21. Setting up the opportunity for a tense overtime period.
The game was tough and physical all night with neither team getting much going in the first quarter. After Gladwin turned the ball over on downs on the first possession of the second quarter Beaverton had the ball at their own 35-yard line. Reed hit Carson Oldani with a deep pass on the next play that went for a 65-yard touchdown. The kick by Reed gave the Beavers a 7-0 lead. But like they have done so many times this year Gladwin responded with a touchdown of their own on the next drive. The Flying G’s went 68 yards on 18 plays while chewing up over nine minutes on the clock. Quarterback Nick Wheeler hit Lucas Mead on a six-yard pass for the touchdown with 45 seconds left in before halftime. The successful conversion made the score 7-7 as the teams headed into the locker room at the break.
Beaverton scored the only points of the third quarter on a 22-yard touchdown run by Reed. The Beavers expanded their lead late in the fourth quarter when Noah Coffey ran it in from five yards out. Another successful extra point by Reed gave Beaverton a 21-7 lead with 4:43 left in the game. “Initially, down by 14 late in the game we just wanted to take what they were giving us,” said Gladwin Coach Marc Jartsfer. “They were defending deep playing their cover 3 so we just decided to throw a couple quick hitches and get out of bounds.”
Gladwin started the drive with a couple of short passes to Kaden McDonald on the right sideline. He made the catches and got out of bounds stopping the clock. “We knew that we would eventually need a big play, but I knew that they were going to play soft to prevent it,” continued Jartsfer. “We had put the hook and ladder play in this week for this situation.” After moving the ball to the middle of the field on a short pass to Mead the Flying G’s ran the play. Wheeler hit McDonald with a short pass, which he tossed back to Logan Kokotovich. Kokotovich carried the ball to the Beaverton 13-yard-line for a 17-yard gain. Two plays later Earl Esiline took a pass on a crossing route 13 yards for the touchdown. After Gladwin missed the extra point the score was 21-13 with 3:53 left in the game.
After Beaverton failed to make a first down on the ensuing drive Gladwin got the ball back at the Beaverton 37-yard-line with 2:21 left in the game. A sack and a holding penalty sandwiched around a 15-yard run by Kokotovich had the G’s second and 20 at the Beaverton 40-yard line with just over a minute left to play. Wheeler found McDonald again this time for a 40-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion pass to McDonald was good tying the score at 21-21 with 1:39 left.
The Beavers had one more shot left in regulation, but when Reed was sacked and knocked out of the game Beaverton took a knee and the teams were headed to overtime. In high school football each team gets a shot to score. They start first and ten at the ten-yard line with only the play clock in use. Beaverton got the ball first and Reeds replacement, Cam Mishler ran a read play to the right. He cut inside of the Gladwin defenders for a touchdown. Coffey scored on the two-point conversion try giving Beaverton a 29-21 lead.
Gladwin then got their own shot from the 10. After a penalty on first down the G’s had the ball and a first down on the five-yard line. Kokotovich ran it to the one on the next play. After being stopped for no gain on second down Kokotovich got the ball again and this time he scored. The two point conversion pass to McDonald was good and the score was tied again 29-29.
Gladwin got the ball first in the second overtime and fumbled on the first play. After Brayde Keeley recovered the ball Beaverton had a shot to end the game. Coffey gained one yard on first down and Mishler gained eight on the second play coming up just short of the goal line. After timeouts from both teams the Beavers lined up for third down at the one. Mishler ran right again taking it into the end zone and giving Beaverton the 35-29 win and sending the Homecoming crowd home with smiles on their faces.
“What a game,” said Beaverton Coach Aaron Seiser. “I’m super proud of our boys and coaches for hanging in there when things didn’t go as planned at the end of regulation.” The Gladwin ability to go up-tempo had a lot to do with that. “Early in the season we use it a lot in practice for conditioning and to see who has a grasp of the offense,” said Jartsfer. “This allowed us to feel comfortable that we could get back in the game.”
“Gladwin is tremendously talented. We knew that we would need to play at a high level to win this game,” continued Seiser. “Our attitude is that things will go wrong during a game. We need to respond positively when that happens. Tonight we definitely did that.”
Both teams have a lot to play for this Friday. Everyone makes the playoffs this season, but seeding within the eight-team districts means that four teams will host games. Gladwin has the misfortune of being in a widely scattered district with the possibility of traveling to Hancock or Kingsford in the Upper Peninsula for a first round game. Beaverton’s district is much more friendly, travel wise. A trip to Oscoda, the farthest school, is 88 miles. Hosting several games would make life much easier for both teams.
Reed was completed five of his eight passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. He rushed 23 times for 132 yards and a touchdown. Coffey had 36 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Mishler ran three times in overtime for 19 yards and two touchdowns. Oldani had three catches for105 yards and the other Beaverton touchdown.
Reed also led the defense with eight tackles. Luke DeMoines had six tackles including three for a loss. Hunter Schaefer, Mitch Hall, and Keeley also had six tackles. Jake Fischer had five. Mishler and Oldani both had interceptions.
Wheeler completed 14 of 21 passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns. Kokotovich rushed 23 times for 72 yards and a touchdown. Wheeler has 36 yards on 12 carries. McDonald had six receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown. Mead and Esiline both had touchdown receptions.
Hunter Huguelet had 11 tackles including a sack. Ethan Shea had 10 tackles and two sacks. Tyler Yott-Goodwin added nine tackles and a sack. Hunter Williams had the Gladwin interception.
“We’ll enjoy the win, but we’ll need to turn our focus towards another big game versus Shepherd, “added Seiser. While Jartsfer said that there is “still a lot at stake. If we beat Standish and Dexter wins we may still be able to host a playoff game.” The Beavers play Shepherd at home while Gladwin travels to Standish. Both games are at 7 p.m.