Friday night, the Spartans got off to a fast start for the first time this season and rolled up a whopping 58-6 road win over the Shelby Tigers in the West Michigan Conference-Rivers.
Overcoming the inclement weather that featured pouring rain and chilly temperatures, the Spartans put points on the board on offense and defense.
It was the Spartans ninth straight win over the Tigers.
“It was a great game,” said Spartans coach Scott Briggs. “Like last week, we got everybody in the game and gave everyone a chance to get some playing time that they deserve. Especially after a long season, it’s nice to give everybody a chance to get out there and let their parents see them play, and that kind of stuff.
“We had a good game. The kids played really well all the way around … offense, defense, special teams. We started out better than we did last week,” Briggs said. “That was good to see. We’re getting closer to putting a complete game together. We have one more game here, and hopefully we can have our really first complete game.”
Peyton Merz, who scored four touchdowns, found the end zone three times in the first quarter on runs of 6, 29 and 5 yards as the Spartans broke the game open early with a 29-0 lead.
A blocked punt gave the Spartans excellent field position on one of their touchdown drives, while Will Chye and Riley McLouth each returned fumbles for scores.
Merz ran in from 20 yards out in the second quarter to swell the Spartans’ lead to 36-0 before the Tigers scored when quarterback Lalo Garcia fired a 21-yard scoring strike to Bishop Lee.
But the Spartans just kept rolling, as Merz scored on a 2-yard run and Gus McLouth tacked on the final touchdown when he took it in from 3 yards out.
Leading the Spartans was Merz, who finished the night with 128 yards rushing on 13 attempts.
The Spartans had 295 yards on the ground.
Spartan quarterback Will Chye was 4-of-7 passing for 84 yards. McLouth caught two for 55
yards and Kaiden Cole hauled in one for 29.
Defensive leaders for the Spartans included Brayden Overmyer with four tackles, one sack and three tackles for loss.
“It does give our off-season a little boost, as far as getting our kids motivated to do the things in the off-season that’s required for football,” Briggs added.
Shelby struggled offensively against the Spartans defense, finishing with negative yardage rushing and only 34 yards total offense.
Lalo Garcia was 5-of-16 through the air for 37 yards and one touchdown.
Travis Boughan led the Tigers defense with seven tackles, followed by Treyjin Waller with five and an interception while Isaiah Vega and Lee each had four.
Mason County Central improved to 3-5 overall and 3-3 in the conference with its second straight win. The Spartans have a big test in their season finale, traveling to inter-county rival Ludington in a non-conference tilt.
Shelby lost its second straight and fell to 2-6 overall and 2-3 in the conference. The Tigers bring the curtain down on the regular season next Friday when it hosts conference leading North Muskegon.