Brethren rebounds with big win over MCC, 30-0

Brethren’s Gavin Asiala (12) turns upfield after catching a pass as Brayden Perkins of Manistee Catholic attempts to bring him down during the Bobcats’ 30-0 win over the Sabers Thursday night. (Kyle Kotecki/News Advocate)

Brethren’s Gavin Asiala (12) turns upfield after catching a pass as Brayden Perkins of Manistee Catholic attempts to bring him down during the Bobcats’ 30-0 win over the Sabers Thursday night. (Kyle Kotecki/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — For the second week in a row, Brethren football got off to a fast start. And for the first time this season the Bobcats were able to turn that into a win as they shut out Manistee Catholic Central 30-0 in Manistee Thursday night.

“I used a few plays out of the playbook right away that normally coaches probably don’t do right away,” said Brethren head coach J.J. Randall. “They want to grind it, but it was cool to see at the end how we won. We grinded it out and we pounded and got yardage and wore them down. That’s good to see because we had that exact same thing happen to us last week (against Fife Lake Forest Area).”

The Bobcats (1-1 overall, 1-0 West Michigan D League) recovered two consecutive onside kicks and converted both into Gavin Asiala touchdowns — one rushing, one receiving — to take a 14-0 lead over the Sabers (1-1, 0-1) with over nine minutes remaining in the first quarter.

“It was from kickoff to when that clock hit all zeroes,” said Sabers coach Jake Szymanski. “Brethren came out ready to play. I don’t know if we’re scared of the powder blue that they got going on or what but our guys just don’t seem to get going too fast when we’re playing this team.”

Asiala caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Troy Macurio with four seconds remaining in the first quarter to give the Bobcats a 22-0 advantage that they would carry into halftime.

Asiala finished with 120 rushing yards, two receiving touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. Macurio was 6-for-11 with two touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown of his own while Logan Tighe chipped in with 65 rushing yards.

“That first quarter we came out just hitting and we came out with fire,” Randall said. “Two onside kicks helped right away and then our big plays right away. Our biggest objective tonight was to not allow big plays. We watched film from when (MCC) played Hale and put up 52 points so we said, ‘No big plays.’ We kind of got lucky at the end where there were a couple dropped balls, but it was our defensive line putting pressure on (Saber quarterback Preston) Picardat.”

After a scoreless second quarter Macurio scored the final touchdown of the game on a one-yard keeper up the middle.

While proud of his team’s strong performance, Randall believes the Bobcats still have room for improvement.

“We’re still doing some silly mistakes,” Randall said. “Reads in our offense and not reading the right people. Just some simple things that we can fix going forward and just work on details because we have a big game next week against Marion.”

The Sabers strung together some decent drives and got as close to the end zone as Brethren’s 15-yard line but never managed to cross the goal line.

“We’d get a little momentum and then there’d be a bad snap or an offensive penalty,” Szymanski said. “We just couldn’t get any traction tonight.”

Picardat finished 7-for-19 for 27 yards and rushed for 46 more. John Slivka had 18 tackles and a fumble recovery to lead the defense. Mateo Barnett recorded 10 tackles and a sack while Josue Hernandez finished with eight tackles and a fumble recovery.

Szymanski hopes the one-sided defeat will motivate the team throughout the remainder of the season.

“The longer we sulk on this the worse it is,” Syzmanski said. “We took a smacking from them last year and that seemed to wake us up. We still have a chance at a really good season. Hopefully this smack hurts a lot harder than last year’s did and we can go on a tear.”

The Bobcats and Sabers next see action September 7 at 7 p.m. in away games against Marion and Bear Lake, respectively.

Manistee 49, Perry 28

MANISTEE — Manistee football used a strong finish at the end of the first half to carry them to a 49-28 victory over Perry Thursday night in Manistee.

After Jack Sandstedt rushed for a touchdown with 1:03 remaining in the second quarter the Ramblers (1-1) were marching down the field and looking to score. Trevor Johns then returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown with nine seconds remaining in the  half to give Manistee (2-0) a 28-7 advantage heading into the locker room.

“That was a sweet play by Trevor (Johns),” said Manistee football coach Troy Bytwork. “And my offensive line coach who is in my ear during the games — he’s not one to get too excited about anything — he just said, ‘Man, he is quick.’ And that’s about the biggest compliment he could give.”

Johns finished the game with 170 yards on 15 rushes with a rushing touchdown and an interception returned for a score. Bryson Jenson added 146 yards on 17 rushes and a touchdown. Logan Buren added a rushing touchdown and Blake Mikula had an 88-yard kick return for a touchdown to put the game out of Perry’s reach.

“Right before half and then right before the end of the game — you know, they creeped in and got a couple touchdowns on us — and we were able to take a couple long drives right before half and right at the end of the game to really finish it off.”

Though pleased with the win, Bytwork was not happy with the amount of penalties his team committed.

“Certainly it was not a penalty-free game,” Bytwork said. “We had a number of penalties on some long drives, but the kids are resilient and they just fought back from them.”

Manistee next takes the field on Friday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. in their Lakes-8 opener at arch-rival Ludington.

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