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Battle for the Bell

Whitehall starts fast, never looks back to retain ‘Bell’ in Game of the Week rout of Montague

Rewatch livestream and check out photos, video highlights and details from Vikings’ 60-6 victory over Wildcats.

WHITEHALL — Whitehall’s football team scored less than two minutes into the contest and never looked back on the way to a 60-6 rout of visiting Montague in the “Battle for the Bell” and North Grove Brewers West Michigan Conference Game of the Week Friday night.

Vikings junior quarterback Kyle Stratton did nearly all of his damage in the first half. He finished the night with a game-high 165 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, plus completed 8 of 18 passes for 149 yards with three TDs and one interception.

Senior Nate Bolley scored two TDs and intercepted a pair of passes to spark Division 4 second-ranked Whitehall, which improves to 4-0 overall (1-0 WMC Lakes Division). Montague slips to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the WMC Lakes Division.

Photos by Kiara Mikkelsen for CatchMark

Here are notables and more details from the game:

  • Whitehall keeps the bell for a second straight season. Last fall, also on the Vikings’ home field, they pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 34-14 victory over the neighboring rival Wildcats.
  • Friday’s matchup was the 116th all-time meeting between the schools. Montague leads the overall series, 64-50-2.
  • Whitehall scored 27 first-quarter points and built a 40-0 first-half lead before Montague got on the board with 36 seconds left in the half. Wildcats senior Chase Gowell tossed a 58-yard scoring pass to senior Owen Petersen, who celebrated his 18th birthday Friday. Montague senior Michael Moore also celebrated his 18th birthday.
  • The elusive Stratton scored on first-quarter TD runs of 19 and 48 yards. He also threw an 11-yard TD pass to junior Trannon Aylor for 32 yards in the first quarter, a 37-yard scoring strike to junior Camden Thompson in the second quarter, and a 20-yard TD pass to Bolley in the third quarter.
  • Whitehall junior Everett Napier got into the scoring act in second quarter, when he intercepted a pass and rumbled down the home-team sideline for a 46-yard pick-6.
  • Whitehall junior Darnell Mack rounded out the scoring with a pair of fourth-quarter TDs, covering 1 and 14 yards.
  • Whitehall junior kicker Abbie Berman booted a PAT following Mack’s second TD to cap the scoring. She is believed to be the first female in school history to score a point in a varsity football game.
  • Mack finished with 76 yards on eight carries for Whitehall, good for a 9.5 average.
  • Four different receivers caught at least one pass for Whitehall.
  • In addition to his pick-6, Everett Napier paced Whitehall with 5.5 tackles, including a sack and 2.5 stops for lost yardage.
  • Whitehall junior Trenton TenBrock made five tackles, while Aylor and junior Kadin Waller registered 4.5 stops apiece. Thompson notched an interception as well.
  • Gowell finished 11-of-22 passing for 134 yards with one TD and four interceptions for Montague.
  • Petersen made three receptions for 81 yards for the Wildcats.
  • Montague junior Adam Baird led his team on the ground with 44 yards on 20 carries.
  • Montague seniors Izac Jarka and Silas Jancek led their team defensively with six tackles each. Petersen made five stops, as did junior Paul Olson.
  • Montague ran more plays than Whitehall (51-47) and held an advantage in time of possession (25:29-19:29), but the Vikings outgained the Wildcats, 468-168. Whitehall overwhelmed Montague in the running game, 319-34. The Vikings totaled 23 first downs to eight for the Wildcats.
  • Dating back to 1950, Friday’s margin of victory was the largest in the Montague-Whitehall series. Second on the list in that time frame was Whitehall’s 50-6 win over Montague in the 1969 season opener.
  • Next Friday, Whitehall hosts Manistee (3-1, 1-1 WMC Lakes), while Montague travels to Ludington (3-1, 1-1 WMC Lakes).

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

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