By Greg Gielczyk

MANISTEE — Exploding out of the gates for 29 first-quarter points, Manistee dominated Shelby for a 54-7 non-conference win Friday night at Chippewa Field.

It was homecoming for the Chippewas.

The Chippewas snapped a two-game losing streak and kept their hopes of securing a berth in the MHSAA playoffs alive by improving their record to 4-3 overall.

It also took away the bad taste left from a 45-21 loss to archrival Ludington the week before.

“We’ve grown accustomed through hard work and what we do of winning the game against our rival, and we didn’t do that,” Manistee coach Troy Bytwork said. “That upset me. It upset me more when I saw the film and I let them know on Monday what I thought of that effort. I told them that I would be damned if that was what was going to define us this season.

“You want to play into the post-season, you want to take this further. No matter the opponent, we just had to play more physical and do what we do, and we did that tonight.”

The Chippewas ran the ball hard and finished the night with 407 yards on the ground, while their defense kept the Tigers’ offense bottled up all night.

Isiah Davis rushed for 133 yards on just seven carries and scored two touchdowns, in the game’s first 5 minutes, on runs of 29 and 31 yards.

Kanon Petzak found the end zone twice and finished with 91 yards on seven touches. Kaden Kott also scored two touchdowns and gained 81 yards on seven attempts. Nick Hornkohl scored a rushing touchdown and had 25 yards on three tries.

Manistee’s lead ballooned to 48-0 at the half and the second half was played with a running clock.

The lone score for the Tigers came in the fourth quarter when quarterback Travis Boughan hit Bishop Lee with a 17-yard strike with 11:07 left.

AJ Melchor was the leading rusher for Shelby with 24 yards on four carries. Lee caught five passes for 70 yards.

Melchor had seven tackles to lead the defense.

“Give all the credit to Manistee,” said Shelby coach Phil Fortier. “They were dominating up front. We had no answers.”

Bytwork agreed.

“We’re trying to minimize mistakes, (and) drive for 4 and 5 yards,” he said. “When you start to get more physical up front, you’re going to spring those for 20 and 30 yards.

“All of those backs did a heck of a job.”

Jumping out quick and impose their will on the Tigers was also a goal for the Chippewas.

“When you’re trying to turn the tide a little bit and get the taste out of your mouth from a bad loss, the thing you don’t want to do is make a bunch of mistakes, get some turnovers … do that sort of a thing,” Bytwork said. “That’s the exact opposite of what we did. We played mistake-free, with very few turnovers, if any. Pretty much penalty-free for the most part, and we imposed our will.

“That’s what we wanted to do early, and that’s what I expected us to do in the first quarter. That gets that momentum rolling, that gets those good feelings back.”

Manistee is at home again next Friday for a West Michigan Conference-Lakes game against Montague.

Shelby had its two-game winning streak snapped to fall to 2-5. The Tigers return to the gridiron for a WMC-Rivers matchup with Mason County Central next Friday.

Photos courtesy of LSJ photographer Greg Gielczyk