TONTOGANY – Otsego exploded for four touchdowns in the second half on the way to a 38-6 victory over Marion Pleasant Saturday night in a Division V playoff game.
The Knights, now 7-0, will face the Bucyrus Wynford-Lewistown Indian Lake winner next Saturday at Otsego.
Junior Trent Leiter scored all five of the Knights touchdowns, including runs of 48, 56 and 68 yards.
“In the first half we were pounding the ball on them. In the second half we came out even stronger and the line blocked completely good and you couldn’t ask anything else from them. The line was awesome on them,” Leiter said.
Four of Leiter’s five TDs came in the second half as Otsego pulled away for the victory.
Head coach Matt Dzierwa made some adjustments at halftime and the plan payed off. The Knights had eight penalties in the first half.
“We put a tight end in there and an H-(back) and we gave Trent the football,” Dzierwa said. “The line blocked really well. Trent ran hard as always. … The offensive line controlled the game in the second half.
“On defense we played well in the first half. We gave up one long play in the first half,” he continued. “We said just settle down and play our regular defense and we got after it in the second half on defense too.
“It was a great team effort overall.”
The Knights scored on their first two possessions of the game.
Leiter scored on a 48-yard run and Devin Coon kicked the PAT to give Otsego a 7-0 lead with 8:40 left in the opening quarter.
On their second possession, the Knights stalled at the 10-yard line and Coon kicked a 27-yard field goal with 11.5 seconds left in the quarter.
Pleasant’s Aden Casperson found some running room and went 44-yards for a touchdown on a fourth-and-3 play in the second quarter. The PAT was blocked and it was 10-6 with 6:48 remaining in the first half.
To start the second half, Otsego used seven running plays after a strong kickoff return, six by Leiter, to score on a 6-yard run by Leiter. Coon’s PAT made it 17-6 2:15 into the third quarter.
“That was awesome. After that big kickoff return, just having the momentum come back … the line was hyped for us. Once we started moving down the field … the line was doing its job just working hard,” Leiter said. “The line was cool with it and they just took the job on.”
“It was huge, it was a momentum thing,” Dzierwa said about the opening drive in the second half.
After stopping Pleasant on a 4th down with 6:22 remaining in the third quarter, Leiter exploded on a 56-yard run. Coon’s PAT made it 24-6.
In the fourth quarter, Pleasant dropped a punt attempt and the Knights recovered at the 25-yard line. Four plays later Leiter scored on a 4-yard run and Coon’s PAT made it 31-6 with 8:47 left in the game. The big play before the touchdown was a 21-yard pass from Noah Dzierwa to Chase Helberg to set up the score for Leiter.
After another three-and-out for the Spartans, Leiter started to run to the right, but cut back to the left and went 68 yards for a touchdown. Coon’s PAT made it 38-6 with 6:56 remaining in regulation.
With the touchdown, the running clock rule was in play.
Later in the fourth quarter, Otsego recovered a Pleasant fumble and then took a knee to help run out the clock.
Now the Knights will get ready for another home playoff game.
“It’s awesome. It’s great for these seniors and great for the kids, the coaches and the community,” coach Dzierwa said. “We’re lucky to be playing right now.
“We hadn’t played a home game since 2004. That was a great experience and there is nothing like a playoff game at home. It’s fantastic,” he continued. “The fans were great.”
OTSEGO 30, MARION PLEASANT 6
MARION PLEASANT 0 6 0 0 — 6
OTSEGO 10 0 14 14 — 38
O – Leiter, 48 run (Coon kick)
O – Coon, 27 field goal
P – Casperson, 44 run (kick blocked)
O – Leiter, 6 run (Coon kick)
O – Leiter, 56 run (Coon kick)
O – Leiter, 4 run (Coon kick)
O – Leiter, 68 run (Coon kick)