By Mike Dunn
McBAIN – Another case of controlling the trenches.
McBain dominated play up front on both sides of the ball for the second week in a row while recording a 52-16 victory over visiting Highland Conference foe Evart.
The Ramblers (2-0), operating mostly out of the tight T-formation with two tight ends, methodically marched the ball down the field, reaching the end zone on all seven of its possessions in the first half to take a commanding 46-6 lead into the half. Fullback Dan Rodenbaugh and halfbacks Kaiden McGillis, Kalvin McGillis and Austin Eling pounded across the line of scrimmage consistently for gains of 6, 7 and 8 yards to keep the chains moving.
Evart (0-2) never stopped battling to the final buzzer but just didn’t have the height or the horses to stay with the Ramblers on this night.
“We knew they were very physical and we hoped to answer that with our speed and quickness but they just overpowered us up front,‘ said Evart coach Pat Craven.
“Our guys fought hard but McBain kept us back on our heels and we made too many mistakes.‘
McBain coach Pat Maloney was pleased with the play of the “Hoggies‘ up front featuring center Brady Bailey, guards Brant Bontekoe and Caleb Kamphouse, tackles Mack Bontekoe and Judah Leonard and tight ends Brock Maloney and Duane DeWitt as the Ramblers racked up more than 350 yards of total offense and punted just once in the contest.
“I have to credit the O-line; they created the holes and allowed us to keep the chains moving,‘ he said. “The mission was to win the battles up front and we did that again.‘
Maloney also commended the aggressive defense, which limited the potentially explosive Wildcat playmakers to just six first-half points while forcing three turnovers.
The Ramblers took a 13-0 lead midway through the opening quarter as Kalvin McGillis tallied on short runs but Evart answered back with a nine-play, 68-yard drive set up by a long kickoff return by Brant Calderon to trim the lead to 13-6. The Wildcats mixed the run and pass effectively in the scoring march and senior QB Danny Witbeck, who hit a key fourth-down pass to Hadyn Simmer to keep the drive alive, capped it with a 10-yard keeper.
The Ramblers answered with a methodical 62-yard march, this one capped by Kaiden McGillis’s 2-yard push to the end zone, to make it 20-6 on the first play of the second quarter. The Ramblers broke things wide open after that with three scores in the span of three minutes as Kalvin McGillis broke free for 47 yards to make it 27-6 at the 8:40 mark; QB Deacon Dodde hit Maloney for 13 yards to cap a short drive after Dereck Kamphouse recovered a fumble at the Wildcat 34-yard line to make it 33-6 at the 6:24 mark; and then Rodenbaugh rumbled over from a yard out to make it 40-6 at the 5:05 mark, capping another short drive after Dereck Kamphouse made a dazzling one-handed interception of an attempted screen pass deep in Evart territory.
The Ramblers pushed the lead to 46-6 on their last possession of the half when Dodde found Karsten Huttenga for 10 yards in the corner of the end zone and Austin Eling raced 68 yards on a sweep on the opening play of the third quarter to close out the scoring for the Ramblers.
Calderon tallied from 8 yards early in the final quarter for the Wildcats on a drive in which Witbeck hit Brayden Cass for 24 yards, and Reese Ransom booted a 30-yard field goal with 5:27 remaining after the speedy Calderon raced 39 yards.
Eling generated 98 yards on four carries to lead the Ramblers while Kalvin McGillis collected 76 yards on eight tries and Rodenbaugh registered 73 yards on 14 carries.
Dodde hit on 7 of 9 aerials for 86 yards and the TD toss to Maloney. Dustin McLain grabbed two for 34 yards.
Defensively, Kalvin McGillis made six stops while Matt Utecht, Brant Bontekoe, Rodenbaugh and Dereck Kamphouse each made five. Kamphouse had a fumble recovery and a pick and Jesse Sikkema also recovered a fumble.