Whiteford’s 2017 football season got off to a roaring start Friday night, rolling up more than 500 yards of total offense in a 48-8 win over Blissfield.
The Bobcats have now beaten the Royals in each of the past six season openers. Friday’s 40-point win – which was finished with a running clock once the Bobcats went up by 40 – was the biggest margin of victory Whiteford has ever had against Blissfield and the largest for either team in the 34 meetings between the two non-conference rivals.
Bobcat coach Jason Mensing was pleased after the win, saying the coaches and team were somewhat irritated by talk on social media about the matchup.
“Our storyline coming in was they did a lot of talking, but we wanted to make sure we talked with our play on the field, not using our mouth on social media,” Mensing said. “They had a lot of words to say.”
Zach Bertz and Hunter Lake each scored a pair of touchdowns. Thomas Eitniear ran for a 65-yard TD while Bradyn Gilmore and Nathan Bauman added touchdowns late in the game.
Logan Murphy led the Bobcats with 186 yards rushing while Eitniear added 146 on just 10 carries. Lake had 79 yards rushing and Bertz 67 in the rushing attack that averaged 9.2 yards per rush.
Eitniear made several dynamic plays for Whiteford, including once on a fourth-and-3 from their own 32-yard line when he scrambled right, reversed fields and picked up a first down.
“We’ve got a lot of players who are talented kids,” Mensing said. “We are fortunate enough to have the depth we have. We’re real thankful to have all of those kids to make plays for us.”
Whiteford ran 64 plays, compared to 44 for the Blissfield offense, gaining 523 yards rushing and 24 through the air.
“They are big, talented and experienced,” Blissfield coach Ryan Love said. “They can be frustrating to play against at times. But, I thought we missed some opportunities to keep this game a lot closer than it was.
“It was going to be tough sledding running the ball against those guys,” Love continued. “We had to pick our spots and try to hit some home runs. We knew that coming in, but we missed some of our home runs.”
The Royals started freshman Gavin Ganun at quarterback. He finished 6-for-20 for 103 yards through the air. Ty Eitniear and Hunter Lake had interceptions for the Bobcats.
Lake led Whiteford with four solo tackles and three assists. De’Shawn Williams had three solo tackles and two assists, including two tackles for loss. Abhijit Risley was in on five stops, as was Bertz.
Whiteford converted on three of six two-point conversion tries and missed an extra point kick. The Bobcats were flagged for seven penalties for 75 yards and had one lost fumble. Blissfield also had an interception.
“We have to clean some things up,” Mensing said.
The Bobcats host Detroit Community at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31.
POST GAME NOTES:
- Whiteford and Blissfield are now tied at 17 wins apiece in the 34-game series between the two schools.
- Whiteford holds a 15-11 advantage over Blissfield when the two teams play in the season opener.
- The Bobcats have now won six straight games over the Royals, the longest streak for either school in the series.
- Whiteford’s 40-point win was the largest margin of victory for either team in series history. The previous high for Whiteford was a 36-point win (49-13) in 1986. Blissfield’s largest win over Whiteford was 37 points in 2009 (58-21).
W – Zach Bertz 44 run (Logan Murphy pass from Thomas Eitniear)
W – Hunter Lake 3 run (Bradyn Gilmore run)
B – Gavin Ganun 1 run (Josh Eisenmann pass from Ganun)
W – Thomas Eitniear 65 run (run failed)
W – Hunter Lake 23 run (run failed)
W – Bertz 1 run (Lake pass from Eitniear)
W – Gilmore 3 run (run failed)
W – Nathan Bauman 6 run (kick failed)