By Greg Gielczyk

SCOTTIVILLE — It took less than a minute for the Mason County Central football team to get on the scoreboard Friday night in the Spartans’ game with Holton.

Junior running back Peyton Merz took the opening kickoff back 84 yards to the house for a touchdown that gave the Spartans a fast six points before their home fans. From there, MCC cruised to a 64-6 victory.

After sitting out a 25-minute injury delay when a Red Devils player was injured on their first play from scrimmage, the Spartans didn’t slow down at all. The game got out of control quickly, largely behind the running of Merz who finished the night with six touchdowns on some sparkling runs.

Merz ended the night with 231 yards on 14 carries and found the end zone another five times to give him six on the night. Tyler Norton ran for another 64 on five attempts.

Holton couldn’t stop Merz, and even when the Red Devils were able to get their hands on him, Merz put down his shoulder and powered through the would-be tackler.

It was 57-0 by the half and the mercy rule being in effect the clock had been running continuously for some time.

“That’s the Peyton Merz that we envisioned,” said Mason County Central coach David Smith. “He’s been hobbled all year. He got hurt in the first four plays of the first game with an ankle. He sat out Manistee, and he came back last week against North Muskegon but had no cutting ability. Another week and he looks better. He’s still only about 80 percent.

“It’s good to have him back. He’s going to be the real deal.”

Meanwhile, freshman quarterback Pierce Bladzik deviated from handing the ball off to Merz often enough to throw a 5-yard TD pass to Quinton Lange and another of 12 yards to Eathen Huffman.

Lange hauled in two passes for 51 yards.

The Spartan defense also contributed to the win. Lange came up with a pass interception to set up one of Merz’s runs and a blocked punt led to another score.

Ethan Domin had a big night on defense for the Spartans with nine tackles, two sacks and three tackles for loss. Brayden Overmyer had six tackles and Norton five with two tackles for loss.

Norton and Lange each had interceptions.

“Bladzik had a rough couple of games,” Smith said of his quarterback.  “I made it a point to make sure we got him a couple of throws to get his confidence back going, because he’s going to play a big part in this going down the road. He’s improving every week, and he’s going to be a good one.”

Rylee Pierce spoiled the Spartans’ bid to pitch a shutout when he ran around end for a 10-yard score late in the fourth quarter.

The Spartans lifted their season record to 2-2 and improved to 1-1 in the WMC Rivers with their next game next Friday at Ravenna.

Holton is 0-4 overall and 0-2 in the conference and visits White Cloud next Friday. 

Photos by Joe Washington.