SSC earns playoff spot with win
STANDISH — The Standish-Sterling Central Panthers punched their ticket to the 2010 playoffs with a 33-12 win over Essexville Garber Friday.
With the season on the line, the Panthers overcame some offensive jitters and forced some timely turnovers.
Head coach Paul Walderzak said it was nice to come out on top of the turnover ratio.
“We have struggled with our turnovers this year,” he said. “It’s nice to have that in our favor.”
Walderzak said that having a week off before playing Garber had an effect on the Panthers’ offense.
“We were not in sync, and it really slowed us down,” he said. “We were in a tough situation, to not have a game. That affected our timing. We took care of the ball; we pulled through it.”
The Panthers started the game with a 44-yard interception return for a touchdown from Blake Grivetti, following it up with a touchdown run by Ryan Davis and a touchdown pass from Ryan Whitman to Cole Walderzak.
The Panthers led 21-0 before two touchdowns by Garber in the second and third quarters cut the lead to 21-12. But a second touchdown pass from Whitman to Cole Walderzak put the game out of reach for the Dukes.
“We took care of the ball,” Paul Walderzak said.
Walderzak also gave credit to Garber for playing well.
“They had a good game plan and came to play,” he said.
Walderzak said the Panthers are now focused on their matchup against former Northeast Michigan Conference foe Grayling (7-2). The Panthers will travel to Grayling Friday.
“They are a good football team,” Walderzak said. “To win, we will have to play well in all aspects of the game.”
He added that there is a little more pressure on the players this week.
“If you don’t win, you’re done,” Walderzak said. “Every game is of the greatest importance.”
Leading the way for Standish-Sterling were Whiteman, with 79 passing yards and two touchdowns, and Cole Walderzak, who had two catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns. Grivetti, Tanner Mitrzyk, and Channing Spencer each had an interception, while Shawn Sission had 13 tackles and a fumble recovery for the Panthers defense.