It was clear from the start Friday that Bowling Green senior quarterback Kadin Shank had gotten bigger and stronger since his junior year and believed in what he can do on the gridiron.
Shank completed 9-of-15 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Bobcats to a season-opening 35-0 non-league victory over Lake at Bobcat Stadium.
“The game has slowed down for him. I’d rather have no one else leading this team,” BG coach Josh Wade said.
“The head coach and the quarterback are the first two to get criticized on any team. What he went through last year as a quarterback and then it was the dedication he showed during the offseason, and the leadership that he showed tonight,” Wade continued.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Shank, who says he grew just one inch, credited the win to his teammates. He may have grown just an inch, but it is obvious he has bulked up, too.
“We practiced well all week, were really focused, and wanted to win this week. We were just ready to go,” Shank said.
“The line did great and blocked excellent tonight, The receivers ran their routes tonight and everybody just clicked,” Shank continued.
“It means a lot. We just want to have a good senior year and we are all focused and ready to go.”
Lake coach Josh Andrews was impressed with not only Shank, but the entire skilled set the Bobcats brought.
“We can credit them because they have a nice scheme and things. They just went out and got after us tonight and we didn’t finish when we needed to,” Andrews said.
Shank threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to sophomore slot receiver Ja’ceous Shannon and a 48-yard TD pass to senior slot receiver Ashton Studer.
The 6-3, 220-pound Studer caught a perfectly thrown ball 20 yards downfield, then scampered down the right sideline, breaking two tackles on his way into the end zone with 2:13 remaining in the third quarter.
Perhaps BG’s most impressive drive was on the game-opening possession, which saw BG march 73 yards in 10 plays, scoring on junior running back Peyton Harris’ one-yard run.
Over two minutes into the second quarter, BG senior slot Bryce Oberlander scored on a 10-yard run to put the Bobcats up 14-0, capping a seven-play, 82-yard drive.
Shank and the Bobcats topped those drives, going into a no-huddle, two-minute offense to score on Shank’s pass to Shannon in the final seconds of the first half.
That drive included a 30-yard run by Shannon to open the drive and a 23-yard pass from Shank to senior Brock Hastings to set BG up in the red zone.
It came after BG’s defense stopped two potential Lake scoring drives.
“We had a tough stretch there at the end of that second quarter, right after we got that second touchdown, and then he put it together and bang, bang, bang — two-minute offense, and he put it in the end zone,” Wade said.
“That was a good feeling going into half. Again, it’s the second year for those kids being in here and we’ve gotten some additions who didn’t play last year. So, all the credit to the kids. Tonight, was a lot of fun.”
Studer scored BG’s final touchdown on a 12-yard run on the second play of the fourth quarter.
For BG, Hastings caught two passes for 64 yards, Studer caught two for 58 yards, junior slot Reece Rath had a reception covering 12 yards and Harris had a catch for 10 yards.
Shannon led BG’s running game with 78 yards on five carriers, Harris ran for 58 yards on 12 carries, Studer had 52 yards on three carries, and Shank had two carries for 37 yards.
On top of that, BG senior girls soccer standout Sydney Maas was awarded the game ball by Wade after she went 5-for-5 in point-after conversion kicks.
BG had 14 first downs and 433 total yards, however shutting out the Flyers ranked high on Wade’s list, too.
“Obviously, we did something right ‘to pitch a shutout.’ I mean, we’ll go in and evaluate film but one of our things that we really focused on in the offseason was our defensive line,” Wade said.
“I felt like our defensive line played decent. We’ll evaluate the film every time, but it is a good night to be a Bobcat. I can’t say enough.”
Next week, the Bobcats travel to Pemberville to take on Eastwood, 17-0 winners over Ottawa-Glandorf Friday.
“They’ll be tough. We’ll get the film tonight, I’m sure,” Wade said. “We know they are going to bring it. We got to get back up. We will enjoy this one for a little bit and then we must go back to work.”
For the Flyers, the play of southpaw quarterback Joe Clay kept his team on the move for three drives that could have resulted in scores but were cut short by the Bobcat defense inside the 30-yard line.
In addition, Lake senior defensive back Nathan Wagner had a nice read on a Shank pass for an interception that led to one of those opportunities.
“We had a nice interception, and we had some nice opportunities,” Andrews said. “It was just some mental mistakes and some mistakes that we need to get shored up.
“A 35-point loss in week one doesn’t define where you are going or who you are. We’ll make sure that we get some things fixed and get it in our heads so we can play with pride and physicality next week against Northwood.”
For Andrews, it is about getting in some conditioning before taking on the Rangers next week.
“Toward the end we got a little bit gassed, and we told them we are definitely going to take that into account Monday through Wednesday next week,” Andrews said.
“Not as a punishment, but we’re saying we want to win. And that is important especially when you have seven, eight kids going both ways.”