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West Michigan Conference football: Ludington, Manistee capture wins entering playoffs

Roundup from Week 9 in the conference.

Ludington and Manistee both captured football wins in regular-season finales Friday night, carrying momentum into the playoffs that begin next week.

Here are details from their Week 9 games in the West Michigan Conference:

LUDINGTON 28, MASON COUNTY CENTRAL 8: Peyton Merz got Mason County Central on the board first with his 5-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter, but host Ludington struck quick for three TDs in a little over a minute to take control.

Orioles quarterback Chase Hackert hit Levi Laman for a 25-yard scoring pass, he connected with Aidan Gilchrist for an 11-yard TD and then Hackert broke loose for a 33-yard scoring run as his team took a 21-8 lead into the halftime break.

Trey Forfinski’s 3-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter put it away for Ludington, which outgained Mason County Central in total offense, 243-162. The Spartans had five turnovers — two lost fumbles and three interceptions — compared to just one for the Orioles.

Hackert finished 8-of-17 passing for 99 yards, plus he ran 13 times for 46 yards. Forfinski rushed 10 times for 54 yards, and he led Ludington’s defense with 10.5 tackles, two for lost yardage.

Gage Jones notched seven stops. On offense, he made a highlight-reel catch. Laman and Deric Duncil made five tackles apiece for the Orioles (7-2), who await their first-round matchup in the Division 4 playoffs.

Merz led Mason County Central with 54 rushing yards on 19 carries. Will Chye was 2-of-11 passing for 31 yards with three picks, and he ran six times for 46 yards. Keenen Kelley led the way defensively with four solo tackles and four assists for the Spartans, who close their season at 3-6. Kolden Myer had three solos and four assists.

Members of Manistee’s 2022 football team posed for a group photo during West Michigan Conference Media Day hosted by CatchMark SportsNet and MLive and sponsored by VanDyk Mortgage Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, at the VAC in Whitehall, Mich. (Amy Yonkman | CatchMark)

MANISTEE 35, FREMONT 6: Visiting Manistee continued to roll and left Fremont with a convincing victory to cap the regular season in this WMC Lakes Division matchup.

The Chippewas (6-3), who appear locked in for the Division 6 playoffs, built a 21-0 halftime lead and extended it to 35-0 in the fourth quarter before the Packers got on the board.

Manistee outgained Fremont by a two-to-one margin, 362-181. The Chippewas outrushed the Packers, 279-47.

Jeff Huber completed 5 of 7 passes for 84 yards with two TDs, both to Nick Hornkohl, with no interceptions. Isaiah Davis led the Chips’ running game with 107 yards on 15 carries. Huber, Hornkohl and Kaden Kott each scored rushing TDs for Manistee. Caden VanSickle paced the defense with seven tackles, while Trevor Adamczak made six stops.

For Fremont, Justin Dirheimer rushed 12 times for 51 yards. Talen Reichert-Slater was 7-of-13 passing for 83 yards. Kyler DeKuiper completed both of his passes, one to Gabe Curtice for a 60-yard TD early in the fourth quarter. Michael Romero recorded a game-high 14 tackles for the Packers, who close the season with a 4-5 record.


Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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