CENTRAL LAKE -- There's a race again.
Mancelona rushed for more than 300 yards Friday night to knock Central Lake from the ranks of the unbeaten with a convincing 46-21 Ski Valley Conference win over the Trojans.
It was Mancelona's first win over the Trojans in 10 years. Central Lake came into the game ranked No. 2 in Division 8.
The Ironmen are now tied with Central Lake at 4-1 in the conference, a half-game behind 5-1 Forest Area.
Mancelona, which wore Central Lake's road white jersey tops because of a mixup, lost at Central Lake 52-8 two years ago.
"This was payback," Mancelona quarterback Greg Blanco said.
"They pounded us (two years ago)," Kodi Balhorn added. "That was in the back of our heads."
Central Lake (5-1 overall) struck first when Jared Danbert returned a punt 72 yards for a score less than two minutes into the game.
But it was all Mancelona after that as the Ironmen rattled off 38 unanswered points.
Mancelona (4-2 overall) scored on three consecutive drives in the first half. Michael Dalton tallied on a 32-yard scamper, Tyler Hartzell went in from a yard out, and then Dalton broke loose for his second touchdown, this one from 52 yards. Mancelona converted all three two-point conversions for a 24-7 lead at half.
Both of Dalton's scores came on reverses.
The Ironmen used that same reverse to spring Hartzell for a 44-yard score early in the third quarter to make it 30-7.
"They were over-pursuing," Blanco said.
Mancelona coach Dan Derrer thought the play could be effective.
"I thought it would be a big play for us, but in order for it to be a big play we had to get our off-tackle going to set it up," Derrer said, "and we were able to do that. We did exactly what we wanted to do. The kids played a great game. I'm proud of them."
Hartzell scored his third touchdown of the game on a three-yard plunge with 4:05 left in the third quarter.
Danbert went in from six yards out with 10:11 left to make it 38-13, but Dalton came up with another big play -- an interception -- to give the Ironmen the ball at the Trojan five. Balhorn eventually pushed it in from a yard out.
Central Lake closed out the scoring on a 57-yard run by Danbert.
"I had people tell me all week that we've lost to them nine years in a row," Derrer said. "But every year is different. It doesn't matter what happened the previous year. This is a different team. We're a young team and we're getting better and better.
"Our defense has been tough all year. It's carried us. Now we're starting to put our offense together."
Mancelona's defense forced five turnovers. The Ironmen intercepted four passes, two by Dalton.
Offensively, Hartzell finished with 131 yards on the ground, Dalton 103 and Balhorn 77.
It was only Central Lake's second league loss in three seasons.
"They played really well," Trojan coach Adam Grybauskas said. "They capitalized on a lot of our mistakes.
"We just made way too many mistakes against a good team."
Grybauskas said the Trojans can take the defeat one of two ways.
"We either come back and get back to work," he said, "or it's something that can tear you apart. It's a choice they (players) have to make. Hopefully, we come back next week ready to get back at it."
Derrer said Mancelona must refocus on Monday as well.
"We've got three to go," he said. "We can't overlook anybody. If we go to I-Lakes next week and give one away then tonight won't mean a whole lot for us in the league. We have to continue to buckle down and get better."