MSHS gets thumped, 42-0, in Traverse City

TRAVERSE CITY – The point of emphasis during Traverse City St. Francis’ preseason practices was to get a good start to the 2015 season.

Point taken.

St. Francis broke a string of three straight season-opening football losses when it pounded Marquette 42-0 on Friday at T.C.’s Thirlby Field.

The St. Francis offense churned out 463 yards, while the defense forced three Marquette turnovers for a victory the Gladiators made look surprisingly easy.

“We had to come out and set the tone. That was our main idea. I think we definitely did that,” St. Francis tight end/linebacker Tyler Picardet said.

For the past few weeks, St. Francis head coach Josh Sellers impressed upon his team the importance of getting the first win of the year before looking toward anything else. His team took that advice to heart.

“The kids were ready. To their credit, they were locked in and ready to go,” said Sellers, who was coaching his first game at St. Francis in seven years. “(Defensive coordinator) Joe (Forlenza) called a great defensive game. (Offensive coordinator) Scott Doriot offensively, and the kids executed the game plan.”

The momentum turned entirely in the Gladiators’ favor early in the second quarter when, with St. Francis leading 7-0, the Gladiators recovered the first of those Marquette turnovers near the goal line as the Redmen were driving in to score.

The Gladiators capitalized on that when they scored the first of three second-quarter touchdowns minutes later and the outcome was never again in question.

“What a momentum changer,” Sellers said.. “They’re going in there. All of the sudden it (would’ve been) 7-7 and they’ve got some life.

“So to stop them, then to score off that too was huge. That was the play of the game.”

Senior quarterback Joe Coates went 3-for-3 passing for 111 yards and two touchdowns – one a 51-yard strike to Chris Kolarevic after the goal-line fumble recovery and the second a 50-yard pass play to Michael Hegewald in the final minutes of the first half.

In both cases, coverage miscues by the Redmen left the St. Francis receivers wide open.

Coates said he was shocked when he dropped back and saw so much daylight between his receivers and the defense.

“I was just really surprised at how hard the defense bit up on our run plays,” Coates said. “It makes it easy on me. Our O-line made it easy on me to just float it up there and the guy go catch it.”

Joe Trucco led a balanced St. Francis running game, picking up 84 yards on 11 carries and punching in a 1-yard touchdown in the third.

Gabe Callery added 58 yards on four carries and a 45-yard touchdown scamper along the sideline in the second quarter.

Jake Klingelsmith had St. Francis’ first score on a 1-yard run that capped off a 14-play drive. Tristan Boomer finished off the Gladiators’ scoring with a 2-yard run with 7 minutes remaining.