DeWitt started off this shortened and delayed season with a non-conference home game against Portland with very limited fans in the stands limited to only 2 fans per participant. Even with the limited fans in attendance the atmosphere sounded electric. I could only view from livestream on NFHS network, but it was still exciting to have football back. Masks were worn, but it didn't seem to slow the players any. Both teams are coming in from as conference finalists from last season.
DeWitt won the coin toss, but deferred to the second half so Portland had the first possession. This didn't help them though as they failed to get a first down. DeWitt, however, needed only three plays to score on a 34-yard pass from Ty Holtz to Bryce Debri for the first score of the game only three minutes in. Brandon Soltis tacked on the extra point to put DeWitt up 7-0.
Portland’s next possession was much more productive as they moved the ball from their own 25 yard line to DeWitt’s 42 yard line before the drive stalled out and they are forced to punt the ball back to DeWitt. DeWitt only managed one first down before having to punt on a fourth and long.
Portland’s next drive was a little longer managing a first down conversion on a fourth and one, but even that was not enough as they could not manage to get past mid-field and turn the ball over on downs to DeWitt early in the second quarter. DeWitt’s possession included a first down conversion on a third and ten with a 28-yard pass from Ty Holtz to Tommy McIntosh, but two plays later they turn the ball over on a fumble. Portland never was able to make anything on the fumble recover and they are forced to punt without ever getting a first down. DeWitt is able to move the ball all the way down to the Portland 5 yard line before having to kick a field goal on a fourth and 5 to put DeWitt up 10-0.
Portland has a very successful next possession including a 48-yard run by quarterback Haden Getchell on a third and 4 for the only first down. They get down to the DeWitt 18 yard line before having to kick a field goal on a fourth and 8. This would end up being Portland’s only points for the game and brings them to within a touchdown of DeWitt at 10-3, which is where the score will stand at halftime after a punt by DeWitt and a fruitless drive by Portland, extended by a roughing the kicker penalty on a fourth and long brought on by an intentional grounding penalty the play before, to end the first half.
A quiet halftime without the band or any other festivities, DeWitt started off with the first possession. After eight plays DeWitt manages to score on a 39-yard pass from Ty Holtz to Luke Bresser with 8:49 left in the third quarter. Portland punts again after a three-and-out and DeWitt comes back again and score on a 13-yard pass from Ty Holtz to Tommy McIntosh with Brandon Soltis once again tacking on the extra point. Portland and DeWitt trade fumbles with DeWitt’s coming on the next play after Tommy McIntosh recovers the fumble from Portland. Portland doesn’t manage to capitalize on the fumble recovery and is forced to punt again on another three-and-out.
DeWitt has a short field for their next possession and scores yet again on a 33-yard pass from Ty Holtz to Blake Beachnau with Brandon Soltis tacking on his fourth extra point of the game just prior to the end of the third quarter to put DeWitt up 31-3. Portland gets their last first down conversion of the game before having to punt to DeWitt two minutes into the fourth quarter. DeWitt scores one last time on their next possession on 5-yard run by Tommy McIntosh with seven minutes left in the game. Brandon Soltis’s extra point kick bounces off the left upright for his only miss this game leaving the score at 37-3. Portland and DeWitt trade punts and then Portland has only two plays before time runs out.
DeWitt had a massive 479 yards of offence with 322 yards of it coming through the air averaging 15.3 yards per pass and an average of 9.2 yards per play. Portland had only 171 yards for the game with 139 of it on the ground averaging 3.9 yards per run and only 3.4 yards per play total. DeWitt had two turnovers to Portland’s one, but it was not enough to help them past the Panthers. There were only 9 penalties in the game (DeWitt 5, Portland 4) but the average penalty was just over 10 yards.
DeWitt’s quarterback Tyler Holtz went 13 for 21 for 322 yards passing and another 65 yards on 10 rushes. Tyler connected with 5 different receivers, including 6 times with Luke Bresser for 155 yards and Bryce Debri twice for 67 yards. Tyler Holtz led the rushers, but Connor McKean also contributed 4 for 65 yards.
Next week DeWitt will travel to Grand Ledge to play the Comets, who beat the St. Johns Redwings tonight 34-17. Portland goes to Charlotte next week to face off against the Orioles, who beat the Ionia bulldogs tonight 34-10.