McBain stifles Manistee offense for 28-0 victory

Manistee linebacker Jesse Kelley (30) wraps up McBain’s Timothy Bowers for one of his team-high 12 tackles on Thursday night at Chippewa Field. The Ramblers beat the Chippewas, 28-0. (Matt Wenzel/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Linemen may be the unsung heroes of football, but McBain’s boys up front were as valuable as anyone on the Ramblers’ roster Thursday night.

McBain (2-0) used its superior size to win the push on both sides of the ball en route to a 28-0 win against Manistee (1-1) at Chippewa Field.

“I tell the kids consistently that the team that wins the 18 inches either side of the ball is going to win,” said Manistee coach Gus Kapolka. “They won it and won it pretty decisively tonight.”

After scoring 40 in a season-opening win against Ludington last week, the Chippewas couldn’t get anything going offensively as they managed just four first downs (one on a penalty) and 39 yards of offense from the line of scrimmage. Two games into the season, McBain still hasn’t allowed a point.

“In their scrimmage they looked great, the first week they put up 40 — big plays, lots of speed,” McBain coach Chad Grundy said of Manistee. “Our defense was flying around tonight. They did a good job.”

The Chippewas went in hoping their speed on the outside could counter McBain’s size, but it never panned out.

“I knew coming in that they would maybe win the line of scrimmage,” Kapolka said. “I initially thought we might be able to spread them out and maybe do some things and when you find out they’re just as athletic as you on the edge and they’re bigger than you up front, it limits what you can do offensively.”

Manistee senior Tyler Maiville’s 14-yard run in the first quarter was the biggest gain the Chippewas had all game. Maiville finished with eight carries for 30 yards, Nick Williams had six for 20 yards and Dillon Rankin rushed seven times for 18 yards.

“They’re big,” Rankin said of the McBain line. “But, you try to block that out and tell yourself you’re going to get pushed every time and tonight I think at times we did, but more times we didn’t. I think that hurt us a little bit.

“They got that 18 inches more than we did.”

Manistee quarterback Mason Swidorski was 0-for-5 passing with an interception and was left open to a number of hits while dropping back.

“I tried to protect my quarterback the best that I could tonight,” Kapolka said. “I didn’t like the fact that he was taking some shots. So the second half, once it got to 21-0, we kind of offensively shut it down.”

Senior linebacker Jesse Kelley led the Manistee defense with 12 tackles and a fumble recovery.

The Ramblers got on the scoreboard the first time they touched the ball as Derek Vongphasouk broke a number of tackles while returning a punt 64 yards for a 7-0 lead with 9:36 left in the first quarter.

Although the Chippewa offense couldn’t get on track, the defense did its job early by forcing three punts and a fumble in McBain’s first four possessions after the punt return.

“I thought defensively we played really well tonight,” Kapolka said.

It was even enough to take the Ramblers out of their comfort zone in the first half.

“Early, we struggled,” Grundy said. “We had to spread it out a little bit and we haven’t really had to do that much yet. They did a nice job on us early. I think we wore them down later and they got tired.”

McBain finally put together a lengthy drive as they marched 81 yards on 12 plays, capped by a 7-yard touchdown pass from Jared Larr to Nathan Buning for a 14-0 lead with 47 seconds left in the first half.

“That was big for us,” Grundy said. “When we got down in that area, their heads started going down and their hands were on their knees. I knew they were getting pretty tired then.”

Larr finished 9-for-14 passing for 119 yards and two touchdowns while Logan Nemeth had 15 carries for 65 yards.

The Ramblers picked up where they left off by starting the second half with an 11-play drive that covered 76 yards in 5:20 as Timothy Bowers rushed from 7 yards out for the 21-0 lead.

McBain closed the scoring with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Larr to Buning with 2:39 left in the game.

“They beat us,” Kapolka said. “There’s no magic bean game plan that you can come up with that’s going to solve that. They came out tonight, they were the better team and they beat us.”

Visit the photo gallery to see more photos from this game.

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