It’s already week 4 of this shortened 6-game season. Thus far has been dominating in their first three games outscoring their opponents 157-41 with their narrowest margin being the 26 point win over Grand Ledge in week 2. This was even with playing perennial powerhouse Portland in week 1. But this week would mark a significant hurdle as the Panthers come up against the Pilots of Warren De La Salle. The Pilots play in the very difficult Central division of the Catholic League. Even though they come into the game 1-2, their losses to Birmingham Brother Rice and Novi Detroit Catholic Central were by 2 and 4 points respectively. They are a tough team that has made it to the playoffs 12 of the last 15 years.
DeWitt wins the coin toss and defers to the second half giving De La Salle the first possession. After a quick 3 and out the Pilots are forced to punt. The Panthers block the punt giving them the ball on the Pilot’s 9-yard line. De La Salle’s defense comes out strong and forces DeWitt to settle for a 23-yard field goal to go up 3-0.
After the kickoff the Pilots once again go 3 and out and forced to punt. DeWitt takes over at midfield. In five plays DeWitt scores on a 19-yard pass from Tyler Holtz to Tommy McIntosh with Brandon Soltis adding on the extra-point to go up 10-0 with 7:33 left in the first quarter.
The third possession for the Pilots goes much the same way as the first two, three plays and put back to DeWitt. The drive lasts eight plays and 43 yards and culminates in 18-yard pass from Holtz to Luke Bresser. Brandon Soltis’s kick goes wide left making the score now 16-0 with 2:52 left in the first quarter.
De La Salle’s fourth possession is there best so far going 60 yards in 8 plays only to stall out early in the second quarter. The Pilot’s field goal attempt is no good and DeWitt gets the ball back on their own 20-yard line. On the first play Holtz connects with McIntosh again for an 80-yard touchdown, 50 of which came after the catch. With the extra point DeWitt goes up 23-0 with 11:44 left in the half.
The game appears to be firmly in the Panthers grasp. De La Salle has another 3 and out and again punts back to DeWitt. The Panthers drive 90 yards on 13 plays to score yet again, this time on a 26-yard pass from Holtz to Bresser. Another Soltis extra point and the Panthers go up 30-0. This is the most any team has scored against the Pilots yet this season and the Panthers have done it with 2:17 still left in the first half. De La Salle has one last possession in the half. They manage 8 plays before attempting and making a 50-yard field goal to end the first half with the Panthers up 30-3.
DeWitt has the first possession of the second half and goes 75 yards in five plays scoring this time on a 21-yard run by backup quarterback Grant Uyl. The passing two point conversion fails making the score 36-3 with 9:42 left in the third quarter. The Pilots once again punt back to DeWitt after failing to get a first down.
DeWitt puts together one of their longest drives yet (7:58) going 80 yards in 13 plays ending in a 32-yard touchdown run by Holtz with 50 seconds left in the third quarter. With the extra point this puts DeWitt up 43-3, which means there is now a running clock. This is the first time this has been done to De La Salle since September 13, of last year when Old Redford beat the Pilots 51-0.
With the running clock the last quarter goes quickly. The Pilots go 26 yards in 4 plays before punting on their next series. DeWitt only makes 9 yards on the next drive before turning the ball over on downs. This would be DeWitt’s only non-scoring drive of the night. De La Salle’s last drive goes strong, but with the running clock against them they run out of time before they can get to the endzone.
The time of possession for each team is roughly even in the game, but the real difference is in yardage. De La Salle only managed 149 yards, 57 through the air and 92 net yards on the ground, averaging just 3.3 yards per play. DeWitt racked up 448 yards, 310 through the air and 138 on the ground. Tyler Holtz completed on 13 of 18 passes for four TD’s. Three of the receptions for 137 yards were to Tommy McIntosh with two TD’s. Another four were to Luke Bresser for 66 yards and another two TD’s. Tyler Holtz had eight carries for 53 yards and one rushing TD and Grant Uyl had 25 yards on 3 carries and one TD. Defensively for the Panthers, Nick Flegler had five tackles and a blocked punt on the opening drive of the game for the Panthers. Chase Bolling had five, Andrew Debri five, and Connor Porchert five.
DeWitt is now 4-0 on the season and travel to Lansing Waverly to take on the Warriors (1-2, 2-2) for the last league game of the regular season. Warren De La Salle drops to 1-3 overall and travel to Harper Woods to take on the Pioneers who are currently also 1-3.