Nobody ever puts it out there, but schools usually try to schedule a cupcake for their Homecoming Game. With all the activities that go along with Homecoming week it’s nice to top it off with a football victory. Ogemaw Heights probably had that in mind when they decided to schedule their Homecoming for the week they played Tawas. That decision came back to haunt them when Tawas cancelled and Gladwin filled the void. The Flying G’s won the game 58-18.
Gladwin has been jumping on teams early all season and last Friday was no exception. After stopping Ogemaw on their first drive the Flying G’s marched down the field going 71 yards in eight plays for the first score of the game. Nick Wheeler ran for 62 yards on the drive including the final 45 yards. He ran around and through the Ogemaw defense for a touchdown. Anna Seebeck made the first of her seven extra points to make the score 7-0.
Kaden McDonald got the first of Gladwin’s four interceptions on the next Ogemaw drive to set the Flying G’s up on their own 42-yard line. When the Gladwin drive stalled at the Ogemaw 24-yard line Treyton Siegert came on to try his first field goal of the season. The duel sport star had been handling the kickoffs all season, but with Gladwin scoring a touchdown on every possession in the first three games he had not had the opportunity to kick a field goal.
With the tee on the 31 it would be a 41-yard attempt, which is only one yard short of the Gladwin record. If he was feeling any pressure it didn’t show. After a good snap from Andrew Gary and hold by Aaron Kozlow he banged it home. The kick cleared the crossbar by a wide margin. It probably would have been good from 50 yards.
After the game Coach Marc Jarstfer mentioned the Gladwin played well in all “three phases” of the game including special teams. The Flying G’s scored 16 special team points last Friday, 10 by the kickers and six from the kick return team. Gladwin hasn’t had much opportunity to return kicks this season. With three shutouts prior to Friday night they had received only three kicks all season.
Ogemaw Heights became the first opponent to score on the Flying G’s this season when they got a touchdown in the second quarter. Jarstfer had wondered how his team would handle adversity; they hadn’t faced any to that point. He got his answer on the ensuing kickoff. Earl Esiline took the Ogemaw kick at his own four-yard line and raced 96 yards for a touchdown. Any momentum Ogemaw may have been building was gone in about 11 seconds. Special team weapons will be crucial especially in the playoffs. Gladwin seems to have it covered.
The Falcons were clearly the best team that Gladwin had faced so far this season and still the Flying G’s scored 58 points. If it wasn’t for three long rushing plays of over 60 yards each Gladwin probably would have had another shutout. “They were a big, physical team,” said Jarstfer. “When they are leaning on you play after play it’s not surprising that one will pop every now and then.”
“It was good for us to experience some adversity before we enter league play,” continued Jarstfer. “We saw a lot of good things happen in the game with the way our guys responded.” Every time Ogemaw scored the Flying G’s scored on their next possession.
Nick Wheeler was 9-17 for 189 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Lucas Mead. He also rushed nine times for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Logan Kokotovich had 13 carries for 70 yards and three touchdowns. Kozlow also had a rushing touchdown.
Esiline had two catches for 87 yards and McDonald had four for 36 yards. Meads touchdown catch and run covered 49 yards and Trace Corlew had two catches for 17 yards.
Although they gave up their first points of the season Gladwin still got a dominant performance from the defense. McDonald had seven tackles; Wheeler and Logan Simrau had five. Kokotovich added four. McDonald, Wheeler and Brady Gehrett had interceptions.
Gladwin improves to 4-0 with the win. The last time the Flying G’s got off to this good of a start was in 1999 when the started the year with seven straight wins. That year they ended up 7-2 after losing a pair of one-point games to John Glenn 20-21, and Harrison 12-13 in the playoffs. They are also well on there way to their best ever finish in the Jack Pine Conference. The Flying G’s finished 6-1 in a three-way tie for first place in 2002 with Meridian and Clare.
Winning brings recognition and the rest of the state continues to take notice. Gladwin moved up to Number 8 in Division 5 in this weeks Detroit Free Press rankings. Gladwin hopes to keep rolling and climbing in the polls when they travel to Sanford Meridian Friday night.