FROM STAFF REPORTS
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — WEST BRANCH — Traverse City West's defense came up big, delivering an impressive 21-8 Big North Conference win over Ogemaw Heights' high-scoring offense.
Ogemaw — which scored 56 points in a Week 8 win over the Titans last season and 38 in last week's season-opening win — was limited to 30 total yards of offense in the first half.
The Falcons ended up 241 total yards, but TC West had a 21-0 lead by the time most of those yards were accumulated.
Meanwhile, West racked up 308 yards of total offense — 300 of that on the ground.
"It wasn't the prettiest thing," Titans coach Tim Wooer said of his offense, which was missing three lineman and a receiver due to injuries. "We came in thinking they were so explosive on offense that we wanted to control the ball."
Max Ludka finished off a grinding, nine-play drive with a 2-yard plunge after he picked up a first down on third-and-4 with a 9-yard run to the 2. Matt Gloshen booted the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 5:16 left in the opening half.
The Titans started at the Falcons 47 after another defensive stand and a short punt, but that drive ended in a missed 44-yard field goal with just under a minute remaining.
Grant Balino added a 14-yard TD run early in the third quarter to give West a 13-0 lead after the extra point was blocked.
Wes Talbot ended Ogemaw's next drive with a one-handed interception of Devin Griffus and Calvin Boultavong's fumble recovery halted the next after the Falcons finally started to get some offense going with back-to-back first downs for the game's first time.
Grant Ellison's 1-yard touchdown run on the fourth quarter's first play — with a Balino conversion run — made it 21-0.
Griffus hit Mike vanKronenberger for a 61-yard touchdown pass and Ben Hartley's two-point conversion made it 21-8 with 11:16 remaining.
Talbot's second interception of the game ended Ogemaw's scoring threat inside the 10 in the final minute.
Balino ended up with 20 carries and 113 yards, Ludka gained 84 yards on 17 rushes and Ellison amassed 70 yards on 19 attempts.
Caleb Breithaupt had nine tackles, Jacob Benker seven and Tyler Town, Keegan Kenny and Geordon Carter six apiece.
West (1-1) plays crosstown rival TC Central next Friday.