Baldwin handily wins season opener

The Panthers were too much against Grand Traverse
The Panthers were too much against Grand Traverse

BALDWIN — It was a fun way for Baldwin to make its 8-player football debut.

The Panthers crushed Grand Traverse Academy 70-0 on Friday in the season opener for both teams.

It’s Baldwin’s first-year of 8-player football.

“Even though the score was lopsided, you’re always worried about somebody getting hurt,” Baldwin coach Bob Watkins said. “Our numbers, we basically only had 10 kids. I feel good. It’s a good start for us. Our kids bought in. They saw the results they should have if they perform the way they should.”

It was 32-0 after the first quarter with the Panthers scoring on their first four possessions.

Grand Traverse fumbled on its first play and Blake Dockery ran 26 yards for a touchdown moments later. Daniel McCarthy ran for the two points.

Ryan Kolenbrander had a 19-yard scoring run and McCarthy again ran for the two points and a 16-0 lead. Ahmad Goram’s 21-yard TD jaunt was followed by the 2-point pass from Kolenbrander, who later had a 9-yard scoring scamper and ran for the two points.

Baldwin added 22 points in the second quarter for a 54-0 halftime lead. The Mustangs couldn’t move the ball and continuously gave Baldwin a short field.

The points came on a 10-yard scoring pass from Kolenbrander to Armondo Jennings and TD runs of 5 yards by Kolenbrander and Dockery. Goram and Dockery both had two-point conversion runs. The Mustangs stopped Dockery on one conversion attempt.

The rout continued with a running clock in the second half with Scott Anscomb returning the kickoff 70 yards for the touchdown and Kolenbrander running for the two points and a 62-point lead.

Kolenbrander ran 5 yards for the next touchdown late in the third quarter and Goram’s conversion run made it 70-0.

“We liked the shutout,” Watkins said. “I was impressed with (assistant coach) Scott Pedigo’s defense. When the defense is clicking, it makes the offense’s job that much easier.”

The game was delayed 30 minutes due to late arrival by the officials.

Baldwin was 1-8 last season as an 11-player team.

Grand Traverse was 4-5 in 8-player football.

Baldwin plays Bear Lake at Brethren on Friday

Baldwin had 304 yards rushing and 20 yards passing. Kolenbrander had 93 yards rushing, while Dockery had 86 and Goram had 80.

“Everyone got some playing time and everyone was tired,” Watkins said. “My thought this whole season is make sure we have a different theme every week so we don’t get complacent.”

The Mustangs had 41 yards of net offense.