By Mike Moore
Jackson — The high-powered offense certainly showed up.
The only difference, it was wearing green and gold.
Lumen Christi welcomed in a Watervliet team Friday night that was averaging more than 55 points per game, and then subsequently put on an offensive show of its own, jumping out to a 35-6 first half lead en route to a 55-28 victory in the opening round of the Division 6 football playoffs.
“I thought we played a great football game, other than the last eight minutes of the game,” coach Herb Brogan said. “But overall, this was a great effort. We played great defense against a great offensive team, especially in the first half.”
Watervliet’s offensive prowess was well documented, as the team’s nearly 60 point-per-game average was just the starting point.
The Panthers were racking up nearly 500 yards of total offense every time out, had scored 60 or more on four separate occasions, and had a quarterback in Cameron Rendo who’d thrown 30 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
And you would have never known any of that based on the first half.
Lumen’s defense seemed to confuse Watervliet, which struggled to pick up more than a couple first downs the first two quarters.
And as a team that doesn’t punt, the Panthers continuously gave Lumen excellent field position.
The Titans first drive needed just three plays to cover 27 yards after a turnover on downs, capped by 10-yard run from Bo Bell.
On the Titans next drive, Troy Kutcha hit Dayton Keller on a 9-yard crossing pattern for a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.
On the first play of the second, Bell dashed 40-yards for a 21-0 lead.
Watervliet’s only score of the entire half was a 49-yard pass from Rendo to Tyler Brant.
On the ensuing onside kick, though, Jacob Lather’s scooped up the bouncing ball and scampered 52 yards for a touchdown.
Kyle Miner scored on a 1-yard run later in the half and the Titans led 35-6 by the break.
“We showed them a lot of different looks,” Brogan said of his defense. “It was a great job by our defensive staff. We tackled well, but I thought we confused them a lot.”
Each team scored once in the third, Lumen on a 9-yard run from Minder, and twice in the fourth, Lumen on two runs by Bell of 7 yards and 48 yards, respectively.
“We did a great job with onside kicks and the short field,” Brogan said. “We’re a tough offense to stop when we only have to go 45 yards, or so.”
Bell was unstoppable again, rushing for 219 yards on 25 carries and four touchdowns.
Minder carried 10 times for 70 yards.
Kutcha completed all four passes for 52 yards.
Lumen, now 8-2, will face Schoolcraft (10-0) next weekend in a district final.
“We have to play 48 minutes instead of 40,” Brogan stressed. “We’ll watch the film, see some errors and get better. This is the time of year you have to keep getting better.”
Watervliet closes its season 7-3.
The 28 points scored was a season low, while Lumen’s 55 was a season high.
Rendo finished the game 25-of-39 passing for 334 yards, but the Panthers rushed for total yards.
Mike Moore is a play-by-play commentator and Sports Writer for JTV Sports. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s also the author of ‘Love, Defined; A Dedication to the Love, Sacrifice, and Magic of Motherhood.’
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