GLADWIN – The Flying G’s got off to a great start last Friday when they jumped out to a big halftime lead over Meridian. Earl Esiline scored first for Gladwin on a 12 yard run early in the second quarter. Gladwin scored two more touchdowns late in the quarter to take a 20-0 lead and tons of momentum into halftime. “We got off to a great start and played about as good of a half of football as we could play,” said Coach Marc Jarstfer.
Quarterback Nick Wheeler threw two touchdown passes with less than two minutes to go in the second quarter to account for the other Gladwin points. The first was to Kaden McDonald from the one yard line to make the score 14-0. Wheeler then intercepted a Meridian pass and returned it to the 34-yard line with 1:08 left in the half. On first down, he hit Logan Kokotovich for 15 yards. Lucas Mead caught a 19-yard touchdown pass on the next play giving Gladwin a 20-0 halftime lead.
Meridian turned the momentum when they scored on their second possession of the third quarter to make the score 20-7. When Gladwin was unable to field the ensuing pooch kick, Meridian had the ball back on the Gladwin 35 yard line. They scored three plays later to make the score 20-13. Meridian scored twice in the fourth quarter including the game winner with 12 seconds left to make the final score 27-20.
Wheeler was 11-18 for 148 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran 10 times for 33 yards. Aaron Kozlow was the leading receiver for Gladwin with five catches for 92 yards. Kokotovich caught three passes for 35 yards. Mead and McDonald both had touchdown receptions. Esline was the leading rusher for Gladwin with 53 yards on three attempts. Kokotovich had 48 yards on 17 carries. The leading tacklers were McDonald with 10, Ethan Shea had 6 and Wheeler 5.
“I was proud of our effort,” said Jarstfer. “Meridian is a good team with a lot of veteran players. They were Regional finalists last year.” Gladwin is going to have bounce back quickly with Shepherd coming to town this week. They lost to Clare on opening night, but pounded Farwell 54-6 last week. The game is at Brokoff Field at 7 p.m. Friday.