Panthers ready for first game

BALDWIN — Doug Bolles did the only thing he could do — he had a scrimmage.

The Baldwin football coach and the Panthers did not have a week 1 opponent after Covert called to inform them it had to forfeit the opening night. That could put Baldwin behind when it comes to this week, when it hosts Manistee Catholic Central.

The Sabers fell in the opening week of the season 55-16 to Saugatuck, the Division 8 state runner-up from a year ago.

Because Bolles knew MCC would have a leg up if it didn’t do something, he did what he thought was best, holding a Blue-Gold scrimmage, which included kickoffs and kick returns.

It also allowed freshman quarterback Brandon Childress a chance to get used to game-time situations.

“We did that so we weren’t totally behind the 8-ball going into this week,” Bolles said. “As for Brandon, the biggest thing for him is not showing his emotions if he gets rattled. We are asking him to grow up fast.”

The Panthers were fortunate in the fact it has 25 players dressing, so it allowed everyone some playing time and get used to game situations. That is why Bolles is optimistic heading into Thursday’s contest.

“I like our speed, my main concern is up front,” he said. “If we can get to the edge, with our versatility in our backfield, I think we will be OK.”

That is the biggest question Bolles has about his squad, how will the offensive and defensive lines play.

“If we can fight to a standstill, we’ll be all right,” Bolles said. “I think we match up quite well and believe these guys are up to the challenge.”

Bolles also knows his team will have to guard against the big play. Manistee Catholic Central scored both of its touchdowns thanks to a 94-yard kickoff return by Alex Hogan against Saugatuck and a 68-yard touchdown pass from Mason Clark to Ben Feliczak.

Jesse Miller led the Manistee Catholic Central rushing attack with 70 yards on the ground on 15 carries, while Jeremy Bigalke added 56 yards on 10 attempts.

“We have to minimize our mistakes and we can’t let them hurt us with big plays,” Bolles said. “We have to control the tempo and be the ones who are making the plays.”

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