The Fenton varsity football team found out exactly how talented the second-ranked Walled Lake Western Warriors were on Saturday afternoon.
The answer is very talented, perhaps strong enough to win a Division 2 state champion.
No matter what the Tigers tried to do, Fenton was never really ever able to stop the Warriors’ offense, and Western’s defense effectively shut down the Tigers’ offense in Western’s 61-21 Division 2 regional championship victory against Fenton at Walled Lake Western High School.
“They have a lot of talent, but we also made a lot of mistakes on offense and defense,” Fenton quarterback Josh Czarnota said. “We had two or three turnovers.”
“We didn’t get in the groove we wanted to,” Fenton varsity football coach Jeff Setzke said. “But I think the biggest thing we get out of this game is it, unfortunately, became a game of field position. They had the ball on this side of the 50 yard line every time, so they got some short fields and they got some scores on us. … I think that was part of the problem.
“They are a better football team than we are but if we played them again, I don’t think they are 61-21 better than we are. Had we had a little better field position and had we scored on our third possession to match them, I think we would’ve settled down a little bit more. But they are a good football team.”
Fenton started the game with the ball but were forced to punt after one first down. Western’s potent offense took just four plays to drive 53 yards and score on a seven-yard completion from Johnny Tracy to Justin Thomas. Fenton trailed 7-0 with 7:21 left in the opening quarter.
The Tigers (9-3) answered back on their next possession, driving 82 yards in nine plays. Fenton’s TD came on a 44-yard quarterback draw by Czarnota. Fenton missed the extra point and trailed just 7-6 with 3:17 left in the first quarter.
However, that was Fenton’s final highlight of the first half as Western went on to score TDs on each of its first five possessions. The next scoring drive was 53 yards on six plays, scoring on a one-yard run up the middle by Jalen Marshall. The Warriors led 14-6 with 1:33 left in the opening quarter. Western got the ball back in the opening quarter with two seconds left. It was enough time to score another TD as Cody White completed a 42-yard TD pass to Thomas, raising the lead to 21-6 at end of one quarter.
The Tigers’ offense, which had just one first down in the opening half, was forced to punt on its next possession. Seven plays later, Jamon Bason was scoring on a seven-yard run. Western led 28-6. It grew to 34-6 on Western’s next possession when Tracy scored on a 43-yard screen pass.
The teams exchanged three turnovers on the next four plays from scrimmage, giving Western the ball at Fenton’ 40 with 2:15 left in the half. Just two plays later, White scored on a 40-yard TD QB draw play. Fenton trailed 41-6 with 1:56 left. Western wasn’t done yet, a fumble recovery by Johnny Schiavi gave Western the ball one more time in the opening half. Six plays later, Benson scored on a four-yard TD run, setting up a 48-6 lead and the mercy clock in the second half.
The Tigers had some offensive success in the second half. Czarnota tossed a 26-yard TD pass to Marshall for one. The other was a 56-yard TD run by Dylan Crankshaw. However, those scores were off-set by two other Western TDs in the second half. White caught a five-yard TD pass on Western’s first possession of the second half. Later, Dylan McGorisk tossed a 56-yard TD score to Ilija Lazich.