GLADSTONE, Mich. (WJMN) – It’s full steam ahead for the Gladstone Braves Football team.
The Braves topped Elk Rapids in the first round of the playoffs Saturday to earn their first postseason victory since 2008.
“It was a great win,” said Nate Young, a senior quarterback for the Braves. “We started out fast and we played our game really well.”
“We weren’t sure how good they were going to be,” said Tyler Darmogray, a senior wide receiver and defensive back for the Braves. “You can’t get your hope down and you cant get your hopes up of how the game is going to go. We came in strong and got a couple touchdowns right away and it just kept on going.”
“After a victory like that, I mean that was the best football we’ve played all year that first half especially,” said Craig Ness, the head coach for the Braves. “They came out and they played their hearts out. It was a great feeling especially for the kids. They’ve been making history all year and just adding that home victory at home in front of a really great crowd was just awesome.”
Feeding off the energy of their home crowd, Gladstone came out swinging. They connected early on a big run by Cole Potier that set the tone for the game.
“It was just a huge play,” said Ness. “Starting with Aaron Hughes and the tackle, Josh Racine. “They all blocked down and it was an inside run and he just carried right off the edge of them guys and 62 yards later or whatever it was he’s into the end zone. It was just a great momentum play and a great tone-setter.”
And while the Braves continue to lean on their senior leaders, it’s the supporting cast that has made the true difference to have the Braves peaking at the right time.
“The names like Austin Solis you hear him on the loud speaker making plays,” said Ness. “Mitch Cartwright and all the way to guys like Kaden Gibbs. The defense flies around, they trust the coaches and they make great adjustments. It’s just been an awesome job.”
Gladstone will look to keep on track this Friday night when they host Manistee in the district finals.
“Manistee, we haven’t played them before,” said Darmogray. “We’ll be watching film and practicing hard this week and be ready for Friday.”
“They’re going to run the ball a lot so we have to really focus on our run defense,” said Young. “I head it might be a little wet on Friday so we’ll see.”
“They’re a very good running team,” said Ness. “We’re going to really have to concentrate on stopping the run. They look a little bigger on video and until you see them in purpose you don’t get to judge them. They’re are very run-oriented and they throw 2-3 times a game because they don’t have to. If we can stop the run it will be a difference maker to see what they will come back with us at.”
The game between Gladstone and Manistee will kick off Friday night at 6CT/7ET.