HOWELL — Friday’s football game between Howell and Novi was not a thing of beauty.
Neither team moved the ball in the first half, but Novi took advantage of Howell miscues in the second half and took a 20-0 victory at Howell High School.
The loss dropped the Highlanders to 0-3 overall, 0-2 KLAA Black. It’s the worst start for a Howell team since 2002, when the Highlanders were winless.
“We made mistakes,” Howell coach Aaron Metz said. “That’s flat-out it. We made mistakes and that was the issue. We gave the ball to them twice, they made a big play and we couldn’t capitalize on their mistakes.”
The big play was a 70-yard touchdown reception by Novi’s Traveon Maddox, who ran through the Howell defense after a short pass to make it 14-0.
It was one of three receptions for the Novi standout, who has already committed to play basketball at Oakland but has drawn interest from Division 1 football teams as well.
“When you have a Division 1 athlete like that, he’s going to make some plays,” Metz said. “Our kids, for the most part, defended him pretty solidly except for 2-3 plays.”
The Highlanders also lost a fumble on a kickoff return, saw a drive stall at the Novi 6 in the fourth quarter, and missed an opportunity in the first half when the Wildcats fumbled but recovered the loose ball deep in Novi territory.
Metz felt the combination of the long touchdown and the fumble were the turning points of the game, but quarterback Matt Hornyak, who saw extensive time in the second half, disagreed.
“I just think they did their part better than we did. That’s all,” he said. “I think it’s just execution. We can do what we need to do, but when we get down there (near opponents’ goal line) there are mistakes that happen. But we can fix that in practice and fix it in the game, for sure.”
Hornyak got the offense moving in the second half, with first-half quarterback Josh Lynch seeing time at running back in addition to his duties as a starting linebacker on defense.
Luke Hovarter showed some speed in the second half as well, leading the Highlanders with 54 yards on nine carries.
“Our kids played hard, but we have to get better at this point,” Metz said. “Our backs are against the wall, and we’ve got to figure out how to fight, and that’s what we’re going to do. I think I’ve got fighters on this team, and we’ll be ready to go next week.”
Pinckney 33, Ypsilanti 21
PINCKNEY — Levi Collins and Jack Wurzer each ran for two touchdowns, while Nick Cain also scored and had two interceptions for the Pirates (2-1 overall and SEC), who led 27-7 after three quarters before holding off an Ypsilanti comeback.
Wurzer was 11-of-17 passing for 177 yards and a touchdown, while Collins rushed for over 100 yards for the third consecutive week, finishing with 119 yards on 29 carries.
The win lifted Pinckney into a three-way tie for either first or second in the SEC White, depending on the result of the Tecumseh-Adrian game. That contest was halted at halftime Friday due to an electrical failure at the field. It will be resumed Sunday with Tecumseh leading 11-0. Should Adrian lose, Tecumseh, Pinckney and Ypsilanti will be tied for first.
Salem 10, Brighton 7
CANTON — The Rocks, who rolled past Howell last week, kept Brighton’s offense in check, allowing the Bulldogs (1-2 overall, 1-1 KLAA Black) just 192 yards in total offense.
Will Jontz, who scored Brighton’s only touchdown in the third quarter on a 5-yard run, was 9-for-20 passing for 121 yards and an interception.
Canton 54, Hartland 6
CANTON — The Chiefs led 54-0 at halftime. Reece Potter scored for the Eagles (1-2, 0-2) on a pass from Zach Trainor in the second half.
Ionia 50, Fowlerville 27
IONIA — Fowlerville (1-2, 0-1 CAAC White), trailed 26-0 at the end of the first quarter and couldn’t recover.