Panthers crush Gladwin in first “real” game
GLADWIN — Standish-Sterling coach Paul Walderzak didn't know quite what to expect Friday when his Panthers took on a Gladwin team that had played the previous week.
SSC, though it was 1-0 coming into the game, hadn't had that privilege as Beaverton forfeited what was to be the season opener a week earlier.
It took awhile for the Panthers to get untracked, but after defeating the Flying G's 40-15, Walderzak had few complaints.
"Considering they had a game under their belts, I'm very happy with what we did," he said. "We scored four offensive and two defensive touchdowns and we had a lot of kids doing a lot of things well.
"It was a pretty good start."
It understandably took a quarter for the Panthers to get untracked, which they finally did with a drive that ended on Casey Potts' 3-yard run and Trevor Trombley's PAT.
Gladwin cut it to 7-6 when quarterback Cody French connected with John Coates on a 30-yard strike.
The Panthers then took control with quarterback Austin Collier score on runs of 44 and 13 yards in the final three minutes of the half to open up a 20-7 lead.
Collier added his third score of the night late in the third quarter on a 3-yard run, sandwiched by interception returns of 45 yards by Adam Gulvas and 80 yards by Kevin Reeves.
French connected with Mitch Babcock for a 3-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter that briefly cut the lead to 34-15.
"We made a bunch of mistakes, but they were all the sort of thing you see in a first game," Walderzak said. "Our leadership was good and our overall team leadership was very good.
"The nice thing is we also got to play a bunch of our second string kids. Gladwin played us pretty tough and is far ahead of where they were at this point last year."
Collier finished with 144 rushing yards on 19 carries and completed 3-of-11 passes for 37 yards, all to Mark Lorence. Jaron Trombley returned seven kicks for 104 yards and added two sacks.
Gulvas had 10 tackles, with Collier adding nine and James Bashor six. Reeves had two interceptions to go with three tackles and a knocked-down Gladwin pass.
The season gets serious in a hurry for the Panthers (2-0) who open NEMC play Friday at Ogemaw Heights. The Panthers and Falcons shared the league title a year ago. Ogemaw is coming off a 21-20 loss at Petoskey.
"Last year John Glenn was our first league game, so we had to be ready in a hurry last year, too," Walderzak said. "I'm sure Ogemaw will be ready for us."