Michigan State commit Cody White is one of four finalists for the 2016 Michigan High School Football Player of the Year, but Walled Lake Western is far from a one-man team.
The Warriors dominated Fenton, 61-21, to capture the Division 2 regional title on their home field Saturday afternoon.
White performed well, scoring two touchdowns off a run and a reception, but the supporting cast was just as productive.
Quarterback Johnny Tracy went 12-for-17 for 227 yards and four touchdowns.
Justin Thomas made five catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns, Jamon Benson had five carries for 48 yards and two rushing scores, Kameron Ford grabbed a couple passes for 56 yards, and tailback Jalen Marshall gained 48 yards on 11 carries with a touchdown all while White got his 66 rushing yards to go along with 42 receiving yards.
Everything was clicking for the home team.
“This keeps us going and riding. We played big as a team today, not just individuals,” White said. “It was a good win for us. Our defense was just playing like some dogs today and I felt it helped us in the win today.”
By halftime, WLW already built a 48-6 edge – scoring on all but one possession.
A running clock was immediately applied to start the second half as the starters were resting by the end of the third quarter. Their work was done at Warrior Stadium.
“That’s about as good as we looked all year. We were really sharp,” said WLW coach Mike Zdebski. “We really got things going in the second half last week and we kept rolling, which is a good time to be rolling.”
Tracy connected with receiver Thomas for two touchdowns in the opening quarter. On the final play of the first, Thomas caught a 42-yard TD bomb from Tracy then jumped to celebrate with a roar. WLW took a 21-6 lead and added 27 points in the second.
“It started out with me, then with Kam and Cody. We just have a bunch of athletes,” Thomas said. “They were a great team, but we know that we’re one of the best, with skilled players, o-line, d-line, in the state. We play as a team.”
Outside of Fenton’s lone first-quarter touchdown, off a 44-yard quarterback keeper by Josh Czarnota at 3:17, there wasn’t much positive production from the Tigers offense or defense until garbage time against the second unit.
The Tigers were averaging 49 points throughout the postseason entering the quarterfinals, but struggled on both sides against a well-rounded Walled Lake Western squad.
Dylan Crankshaw fumbled twice in the second quarter and Czarnota tossed his third interception of the entire season at 2:15. His pass was picked off by Ben Reilly, who gained 30 yards after the turnover. Josh Maher made another fumble near the end of the third, recovered by Troy Williams.
Czarnota would go 4-for-12 with 1 touchdown. He also gained 121 rushing yards off 15 carries plus the 44-yard rushing score. Crankshaw ended with 93 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Fenton’s Alex Marshall grabbed the final 56-yard touchdown pass at 3:06 in the fourth with the game completely out of reach.
“It’s been a fantastic year,” said Fenton coach Jeff Setzke. “Unfortunately, we got a loss today but it doesn’t take away anything. I’m proud of our kids. As much as we don’t like the scoreboard, this is going to make us better.”
WLW will now face Lowell at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19 in the semifinals.
Tag(s): News Walled Lake Western WLW JV WLW Freshmen