WHITTEMORE – The Manistee football team rolled its way to an undefeated regular season a year ago. The Chippewas showed they still have plenty of firepower leftover from that team, as they handed host Whittemore-Prescott a convincing blow in a 57-20 non-conference setback.
“Last year they had the best year in school history and they brought back some pieces,” W-P head coach Tommy Atkinson said. “All week we preached about keeping these kids contained, keeping them inside and obviously we weren’t able to do that. They are a Class ‘B’ school and they have a really solid program right now. They were a handful.”
The Chippewas opened the scoring just over three minutes into the game, getting a 37-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion to cap off a five-play 56-yard drive.
The Cards had a big play to answer just three plays into their ensuring drive, as Dakota McKuen broke free for a 67-yard touchdown run to pull W-P within 8-6.
Manistee made it 15-6 before the end of the first and tacked on two early scores in the second to take control of the game at 29-6.
W-P fumbled the ball on a running play midway through the second quarter, though Brad Lauria was able to recover it and run in 16-yards for a touchdown, drawing W-P closer to 29-14.
Manistee scored just before the half on a one-yard quarterback keeper, capping what was a 10-play 70-yard drive, putting the score to 36-14 at the half.
W-P had its lone touchdown of the second half come in the form of a 45-yard touchdown run by Dakota Gagnon late in the third quarter. Manistee was good for three more scores however as they pulled away to the 57-20 final.
“I think that there are things we could have done to make the game more competitive that we didn’t do,” Atkinson said. “We made mistakes and turned the ball over where they didn’t. If you are looking at the scoreboard it looks pretty one-sided but I also saw a lot of good things that we did in the game. There were good moments and glimpses of being the team were capable of being.”
McKuen ran 15 times for 112 yards and one touchdown, Gagnon carried the ball eight times for 89 yards and a score and Tyler Watkins had 19 yards rushing.
Lauria led the defense with 14 tackles, Kyle Fenner had eight tackles, Aaron Mervyn took down five, including one for a loss and Aaron Cloum also had five tackles.
“Us taking some lumps against Manistee is not discouraging us at all,” Atkinson said. “We were able to move the ball against team that went 9-0 last year and is starting out the season very strong again so far this season.”
W-P (1-1 overall) hosts Iosco County rival Tawas Area (1-1) on Friday. The Braves edged Rogers City 14-6 last week and topped the Cards in a wild 41-34 game last year.