DeWitt scores on each of its first three drives, defeats Kingsford 38-7
DeWitt – DeWitt took advantage of excellent field position in the first half to take a 24-7 lead and the Panthers went on to defeat Kingsford 38-7 on Thursday at DeWitt.
It was the second meeting between the programs. DeWitt travelled to the Upper Peninsula last season and defeated the Flivvers, 41-21.
DeWitt led 17-0 scoring on each of its first three possessions. The Panthers had touchdown drives of 42 and 40 yards after their defense held Kingsford (1-1) to a minus 10 yards total on consecutive drives.
“Our depth hurt them,” DeWitt coach Rob Zimmerman said. “Our kids made plays. (Playing on a Thursday afternoon) is not my favorite (time to play). I think the trip impacted them.”
The trip from Kingsford to DeWitt takes approximately eight hours. Kingsford made the trek on Wednesday. This, plus the humid weather conditions, made it tough on the visitors.
“We have a lot of two-way players,” veteran Kingsford coach Chris Hofer said. “We ran out of gas.”
Kingsford’s start compounded the Flivvers’ problems.
DeWitt (2-0) also had the edge in the kicking game. All but two of Matthew Meagher’s kickoff went into the end zone. Kingsford began its first six drives on its 20 or inside.
Meagher also made a 27-yard field goal and all five extra points.
Mistakes were few as Kingsford had one turnover and no penalties. DeWitt had no turnovers and two penalties. That’s a sign a two, well-coached teams.
DeWitt was also a bit fortunate. The Panthers fumbled four times and each time they recovered, twice courtesy of slot back Shonquise Trainor.
“Whatever could happen, happened,” Hofer said. “We had to make some good plays against a good team and we didn’t.”
One good sign for DeWitt was the ongoing maturation process of junior quarterback Will Nagel. The junior was making his fourth varsity start and Zimmerman said “he’s improved dramatically.
“We asked a lot from our quarterbacks. We have a lot in our package. He’s made very few mistakes.”
Nagel got off to a good start as he was 6-of-8 passing in the first half for 106 yards and that included an 18-yard touchdown pass to the 6-5 Evan Conn.
Nagel also had 46 yards rushing on 10 carries as the Panthers totaled 181 yards and seven first downs.
Jacob Umholtz’s 3-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter gave the Panthers a 17-0 lead.
Kingsford, which was held to five yards on its first three drives, went 80 yards in eight plays to pull within 17-7. Ben Moreau had a 35-yard run and Andrew Barker’s 26-yard run set up his 1-yard touchdown plunge.
For the game Nagel was 8-of-11 for 142 yards. He also rushed 16 times for 64 yards. Umholtz and Froehlich each scored two touchdowns.
“Our O-line did really well,” Nagel said. “I grew up with this program. (Former quarterback) Jake Johnson really helped me a lot. I felt confident in this position. I have to be a leader. Being a DeWitt quarterback you have to show leadership.”