FOOTBALL: Fenton keeps its grudge on Holly

| October 9, 2015 | Comments (0)





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HOLLY — Fenton listed a long list of realistic goals in the preseason. The Tigers attained a pair of them Friday night.

Fenton shut down Holly inside its 30 yard line on three occasions, including once at the end of the first half when up by a score. The Tigers went on to down host Holly, 35-19, in a Flint Metro League contest to grab the Grange Hall Grudge Trophy for the fourth straight season.

The win also catapults Fenton into the postseason for the eight straight season and keeps them in the driver’s seat in the FML standings.

“This was the goal when (the current coaching staff) first came. We struggled the first couple of years, but we reeled in eight straight (playoff berths),” noted Fenton coach Jeff Setzke. “We’ve had some success in the playoffs. That’s always the goal and now we can focus in our next goal and try to win a fifth straight league title. We got the (Grudge Trophy) again, too, another goal.”

Late in the first half with a 21-13 lead, Fenton watched Holly drive down to the Tigers’ 8 yard line. A couple of penalties later and the Bronchos were back on the 23. Holly failed to convert on three straight passes, including two that were batted away at the goal line to end the half — quickly shifting the momentum back to Fenton heading into the third quarter.

The Tigers (6-1, 5-0) scored on its first and third drives of the second half for a 35-13 advantage and simply put the game out of reach. Zach West hauled in a 20-yard strike from quarterback Josh Czarnota with 9:57 to go in the third and the same duo hooked up again with a 26-yard heave with 7:20 remaining in the contest.

“I think the holding penalty (late in the first half) was really critical there. That put us in a tough spot. It drove us back a little bit and gave then an advantage,” said Holly coach Ryan Culloty. “We have to do a better job when we have those opportunities. We had our chance to score there right before the half. I thought it was a pretty even game. They took advantage of their opportunities and we didn’t.”

Holly (4-3, 3-2) scored a touchdown with 2:26 left in the game, this time on Adam Tooley’s 1-yard plunge. But the damage had already been done, as the Bronchos are now forced to win out its final two games against Swartz Creek and Ortonville Brandon in order to reach the postseason.

Fenton scored first when Czarnota rambled home on a 2-yard keeper with 7:30 left in the opening frame.


Holly scored on its next two drives for its short-lived advantage. Collin Dallwitz plowed into the end zone from 1 yard out, while Payton Bilbia blazed an 83-yard trail untouched for the score midway through the first quarter. The two-point conversion tailed.

Fenton went ahead for good at 14-13 when Dylan Crankshaw scored on a 2-yard run with 1:56 remaining in the first quarter. The Tigers later added another score two drives later, this time with Crankshaw scoring on a 4-yard scamper with 1:53 left in the second frame.

Czarnota finished the night with 106 rushing yards on 18 carries and also passed for a crisp 10-for-14 for 178 yards and two touchdown passes. Crankshaw was a workhorse in the backfield with 124 yards on 29 carries, West had 67 yards on four catches, while Kevin Lack had three grabs for 61 yards for Fenton.

Fenton batted down six passes in the contest and halted three potentially dangerous Holly drives which Setzke felt was a major difference.

“Stopping the one drive just before the half was big,” said Setzke. “It helped to have a 6-foot-3 corner out there to knock the ball away. We made some key defensive plays at the right time which made a huge difference in the game.”

Garrett Stapleton finished 15-for-31 passing for 189 yards for Holly. Nick Barchichat had 105 yards on eight carries and Tooley caught nine passes for 97 yards and Javon Barr had 58 yards on six catches for the Bronchos.

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