GRIFFITH, Ind. — Pure dominance on both sides of the ball was the best way to describe Michigan City’s lopsided 53-0 season opening win over Griffith Friday.
And it could have been worse as Wolves coach Phil Mason cited concerns with City’s place kicking woes after Riley Shreve had blocked attempts of a pair extra point tries and a field goal.
“We got a feel for what it’s like to be in a Friday night environment, and that’s what we needed to do,” Mason said. “A new quarterback, a couple of new players and guys that were new to the system got a good taste of what Friday night was like. That’s what is important for us.”
It only took four plays in less than 90 seconds for the Wolves to get on the board after Marquan Hurt returned the opening kickoff to the Griffith 45 yard line. Quarterback Bryce Hayman broke loose for a 34 yard gain on the first play before connecting on a 3 yard touchdown pass to Kameron Muhammad. A missed extra point gave City an early 6-0 lead.
The Wolves smothering defense forced the first of several three and outs, as this was the only drive City came short of a score as Shreve’s 28 yard field goal attempt was blocked.
Griffith’s only threat to score came on their next possession keyed by a City personal foul penalty and converting a 24 yard third down pass play before missing on a 25 yard field goal.
“I didn’t like our first quarter,” Mason said. “I thought it was a little sloppy. But those things are expected. It was the first game jitters, you’re going to make a few mistakes. We got to clean up obviously the (point after touchdown) team. That was disappointing.”
City took over and went on a 10 play 80 yard drive that resulted in a Bryce Hayman 13 yard pass to Zenon Wilhelm to begin a dominant second quarter. The Wolves defense came up with the next score on a Brian Walker 18 yard interception return less than a minute later to make it 20-0.
The defense held again creating the good field position resulting with Justin Wozniak grabbing a six yard scoring pass from Hayman.
After yet another stop on defense, Wilhelm had an apparent punt return for touchdown called back for an illegal block. It didn’t matter because Hayman connected with Muhammad for a 32 yard touchdown on the very next play.for a 33-0 City halftime lead.
“The second quarter, that was good to see,” Mason said. “We spread the ball around a lot. A lot of guys touched the ball and got into the end zone.”
Griffith continued to struggle on their opening possession of second half, and making matters worse, a short punt allowed City to take over at the Panther 25 where Detrick Merriweather later scored from the 2 yard line.
Hayman followed by throwing his fifth TD pass, an 18 yarder to Demetrius Garrett to close the third quarter at 47-0.
Merriweather added the final blow with a 25 yard run in the fourth quarter with the Wolves playing with backups the rest of the way.
Up next for Michigan City is the home opener next Friday with Homewood-Flossmoor, a Class 7A team from Illinois that handed the Wolves a 63-21 defeat a year ago.
“We’ve got to understand the game will change drastically in seven days and get our guys in the mindset that it’s going to be a tough road and keep working to get better.’” Mason said.