HOLLAND — Frustrated because three of their teammates had to miss the game, the Wildcats took it out on Springfield Friday night, crushing the Blue Devils 49-21 in Northern Lakes League action.
Led by the running duo of Jarrett Gerdeman and Michael Chipps, the Wildcats ran for 315 yards and seven touchdowns as a team, dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
Gerdeman rushed for 124 yards on 23 carries and scored four TDs, while Chipps carried the ball 17 times for 128 yards and two scores. Nate Brubaker added a 51-yard TD run.
“I was tickled,” said Napoleon coach Tory Strock about his team’s effort. “We were down three really good football players who are sitting at home healthy. The kids were frustrated and rightfully so. I could not be prouder of the way the guys pulled together and played with tremendous effort.”
Strock was upset about not having three players, who had to miss the game due to being quarantined after exposure to COVID-19.
“It has been a roller coaster (season) and this week was no different,” said Strock. “This entire season is going to be a battle of attrition and which teams handle that best is going to have a big advantage.”
Napoleon established its dominance early, driving 80 yards on the Wildcats’ opening possession and scoring on an 8-yard run by Chipps.
The Cats executed an onside kick to perfection with Collin Fedderke recovering the ball. Napoleon drove the short field with Gerdeman scoring on a 1-yard run.
“Based on what we saw (on film) we felt there were two or three wrinkles we could do this week,” said Strock. “(Kicker) Drew Grant did a perfect job executing the kick and our coverage team was very solid.”
Fedderke picked off a Springfield pass on third down and on the first play of the second quarter, Gerdeman ran it in from 11 yards out for a 21-0 lead.
The Blue Devils ran just three offensive plays in the entire first quarter.
Gerdeman added a 10-yard touchdown after Springfield fumbled a punt attempt to give the Wildcats another short field.
Brandon Langston put Springfield on the scoreboard with a 9-yard run, but Brubaker answered quickly scoring on a 51-yard run 43 seconds later for a 35-7 lead at intermission.
“Play calling is easy when you are controlling the line of scrimmage,” said Strock. “It’s also easy when you have the number of weapons we have. We were able to spread the ball around and make it difficult on their defense.”
Gerdeman (7-yard run) and Chipps (33-yard run) each scored in the third quarter to start the running clock, but Springfield scored twice against Napoleon’s second unit in the fourth quarter, with Taylen Miller running in from 16 yards and 1 yard, for the 49-21 final.
The Devils finished with 141 yards rushing and 190 yards total offense, with most of that coming after the running clock started.
Napoleon (2-0) travels to Maumee Friday.