MCC too much for Baldwin

By Bryan Fogg

Pioneer Sports Network

MANISTEE — Manistee Catholic Central was able to keep its playoff hopes alive on Friday with a home win against an ailing Baldwin team.

The Sabers pulled away in the second half en route to a 68-28 victory.

The game was close early after a helter-skelter start to the game. In the first 2:06 the game had 24 total points. MCC’s Preston Picardat found Nick Hansen on a 65-yard cross route on the third play from scrimmage.

Baldwin’s Ryan Kolenbrander returned the kick off for 74 yards and a touchdown, while on the next kickoff Hansen returned the kick 70 yards for a touchdown. The Sabers led 16-8 after two minutes.

“We definitely are a better defensive team than that showed. We’re definitely going to go back and look at film,” MCC coach Jake Szymanski said.

The teams settled down a bit for a minute, but Picardat found Hansen again on a 10-yard route to the corner.

The Panthers stayed in the game on the next drive with Daniel McCarthy picking Picardat off and returning the interception 38 yards to keep his team in the game at 24-14 late in the second quarter.

In the final minute of the half MCC’s Picardat scored on a 34-yard quarterback draw, and Baldwin responded seconds later with an 11-yard touchdown pass from McCarthy to Kolenbrander. The Sabers led 30-22 at the half.

“I thought if we had a lead at halftime it could have inspired them, but we’re always coming from behind,” Baldwin coach Robert Watkins said. “We thought we were okay only being down a touchdown at halftime, but there were just a couple of miscues.”

Early in the second half it became clear that MCC would be able to wear down the Panthers, who only dressed 11 players in the game. The Sabers were able to outscore Baldwin 38-6 in the second half.

Sabers’ lineman Bryant Dozier returned a fumble 30 yards at the beginning of the second half to set up the team with first and goal. Picardat was able to score on a quarterback sneak to go up 38-22.

Late in the third Hansen broke loose with runs of 30 and 50 yards for touchdowns to give MCC a comfortable 62-28 lead going into the fourth quarter.

“That’s where we started back in two-a-days when we said we needed to be the best-conditioned team. We’ve shown it for most of our games, but our slow starts haven’t really let us show our conditioning,” Szymanski said.”We came out in the second half and we had to challenge these guys again. It was too close. We wanted to come out and put them away early.”

“Towards the end the fatigue started getting to them with their tackles,” Watkins said.

The one Baldwin touchdown in the second half came by way of a 20-yard run by Kolenbrander.

Hansen led the Sabers on Friday with six touchdowns. He was 9 for 119 rushing with three touchdowns, 3-for-96 receiving with two touchdowns, and he had a kick return.

Picardat finished 5-for-9 passing for 173 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was also 13 for 70 with 2 rushing touchdowns.

Barry Seymour also had 13 carries for 76 yards and Brayden Perkins had 2 receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown.

Manistee (2-3, 2-2) plays Oct. 6 at home against Marion, while Baldwin will be back next Friday at Marion.