By DOUG DONNELLY
OTTAWA LAKE – The Whiteford offense was in full gear Friday night and its defense had a huge night as well as the Bobcats beat Sand Creek 54-14 to win a Division 8 district championship.
“We kept the gas pedal on all night,” said Bobcat sophomore full back Drew Knaggs, who scored two touchdowns. “I love it. It feels so good to get this win.”
Whiteford’s finished the game with 369 yards of total offense, including 301 on the ground. Drew Knaggs rushed for two touchdowns, and Ruddy, Giesige, Hillard, Jake Iott and Luis Trejo each added one as the Bobcats ran behind its powerful offensive line. The Bobcats scored on every drive it had except for the final one when they let the clock expire.
In the first half the Bobcats scored on drives of 11, 15 and 9 plays. The second half scoring drives came on five plays, six plays, four plays and nine. The Bobcats also made six two-point conversions.
Ruddy led the offense with 96 yards rushing on eight carries. On the first drive of the second he had a 56-yard run to set up Giesige’s short touchdown. He dropped back to pass but broke free on a long run and twisted and turned his way through a couple Aggie tacklers and stiff-armed his way past another.
“We had some great players that made some great plays,” Whiteford coach Jason Mensing said. “Shea’s run was an incredible play. The big thing is our kids played some great fundamental football.”
Ruddy also completed 5 of his 7 passes for 68 yards. Giesige had 79 yards rushing, Knaggs 62 and Iott 42. The Bobcats used nine different ball carriers as the Bobcats had 25 first downs.
Levi Hillard led the defense with seven tackles and a sack. Noah Bauman, who made the touchdown-saving tackle at the goal line right before halftime, had six tackles, as did Giesige. Those three happen to be three of the five seniors on the Whiteford roster.
“We had a great week of preparation,” Mensing said after the Bobcats’ first district championship since 2017. “I was very confident coming into the night for that reason. Hopefully we learn how that can help us and do the same thing next week.”
The Bobcats (10-1) will take on Clarkston Everest Collegiate next weekend. Whiteford, the No. 2 overall team in Division 8 according to playoff points, will host the Mountaineers.
Whiteford 54, Sand Creek 14
W – Drew Knaggs 1 run (Jack Andrews pass from Shea Ruddy), 4:24
W – Luis Trejo 2 run (Knaggs run), 8:11
SC – Braedon Nichelson 30 pass from George Hillard (Nichelson run), 5:54
W – Jake Iott 2 run (Knaggs run), :41
W – Cole Giesige 1 run (Hunter DeBarr pass from Ruddy), 10:13
W – Levi Hillard 1 run (Ruddy run), 7:26
W – Ruddy 7 run (Giesige run), 3:05
SC – G. Hillard 25 run (Nichelson pass from G. Hillard), :33
W – Knaggs 5 run (run failed), 7:17
RUSHING – Sand Creek: Hillard 10-61, Prater 9-25, Nichelson 4-22, Pifer 1-4, Waltz 1-(minus)-15. Totals 25-97. Whiteford – Ruddy 8-96, Giesige 14-79, Knaggs 13-62, Iott 11-42, Trejo 2-8, DeBarr 2-7, Hillard 2-5, Masserant 1-2, Joerin 1-0. Totals 54-301.
PASSING – Sand Creek: Hillard 12-17-0 159 yards. Whiteford: Ruddy 5-7-0 68 yards.
RECEIVING – Sand Creek: Nichelson 6-106, Waltz 5-42, Serin 1-11. Whiteford: Giesige 2-22, Andrews 1-19, DeBarr 1-14, Iott 1-13.