DEXTER — Go ahead and find someone who will take credit for a big victory on the Fowlerville football team.
It might take a while.
After he and his line mates helped propel the Gladiators to 388 yards rushing in a 49-13 victory, left guard Bryce Bertl put a metaphorical pancake block on a question about the push he and left tackle Josh Shroyer got on the Dexter defense.
“If it wasn’t for (Alex) Brownlee and (Nick Semke) and our whole running back corps, we wouldn’t have had any of those yards,” he said. “But they found the holes we provided for them and we made it work.”
Fowlerville coach Bret Shrader was more appreciative.
“It was good to see,” he said. “I was hoping for that. I thought in our scrimmage we did OK up front, and I was hoping we could do that tonight, and I think we established ourselves on the line of scrimmage for our side.”
Semke, who rushed for 188 yards and four touchdowns, was even more direct.
“Amazing,” he said. “They are working their (butts) off down there. Games are won in the trenches, and we dominated in the trenches.”
Once the Glads got going, the Dreadnaughts couldn’t keep up. Fowlerville scored on seven of its nine possessions. One drive ended with a lost fumble, and the final Fowlerville drive ended with the Glads’ only punt of the night.
In between, the Gladiators made the most of their advantages on both sides of the line, springing Semke for runs of 54 and 53 yards and Josh Nabozny for an 81-yard run that saw him tackled a yard short of the end zone.
“It was a broken play, but the line got a good push and made something happen,” he said.
He took some grief from his teammates, but all in good fun.
“He’d played a lot of football before the run,” Shrader said of Nabozny, who spent most of the night at wide receiver on offense and also started at defensive back.
Another beneficiary of the Glads’ offensive line dominance was Brownlee, who rushed for 87 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“Having two running threats opens up a lot of holes,” Semke said. “Dexter defended well, but we got the better of them tonight.”
The Dreadnaughts lost their 24th game in a row and for the 35th time in 37 tries. The Glads used their bigger roster to good effect and wore down Dexter in the second half.
It was the biggest Fowlerville win since the 2008 opener, when they beat Detroit Old Redford 42-6 and it was their first mercy-rule win since then.
“It was a fun night for the Gladiators,” Shrader said. “I’m excited for step 2. This was step 1 and that’s our mentality going forward. We’re going to focus on one step at a time. We took care of step one. It’s a short week for us. We have to come in and lift tomorrow and watch film, and we have to practice Sunday to prepare for Thursday.”
“We feel good,” Semke said. “There’s definitely a sense of pride after how hard we workd over the weel. But on to week 2. We’re on to Charlotte. We’ll celebrate on the way home, and then it’s on to next week.”