Plymouth football coach Mike Sawchuk and a host of other former area athletic stars were honored as Plymouth Sports Hall of Fame inductees Friday night.
That was likely the highlight of Sawchuk’s evening, however, as his Wildcats struggled to move the ball against visiting Utica Eisenhower and lost, 28-7.
Sawchuk’s defense looked good at the start, as Alan Farmer and Chase Timko each intercepted Eisenhower QB Max Wittwer in the first quarter.
Wittwer finally made the right connection when he sent Ryan Chargo on a fly pattern down the middle of the field for a 77-yard score with 23 seconds left in the quarter to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.
“Our motto this year is ‘Reset,’ ” said Wittwer, who ended up 213 yards and three touchdown passes. “That means whether you make a good play or a bad play all you have to do is think about the next play. We set ’em up, we got the momentum going one way and we hit the backside post on the other side.
“It was beautiful. It was the exact same play on the second touchdown (pass).”
Ike came up with a turnover when John Stroble intercepted a Jonah Peterson pass with 2:01 left, giving Eisenhower great field position at the 47. Stroble finished with two picks.
“I felt we shut them down,” Stroble said. “Our linemen did a good job, which allowed me to do my job. As soon as Max threw that second one (interception), I told him to reset.”
The Wildcats might have sealed their own fate to start the third, when Farmer’s fake punt run inside his own 35 was stopped way short.
Jacob Albrecht made the Wildcats pay with a 16-yard jet sweep run, giving Ike a 14-0 lead with 9:34 left in the third.
“That was my fault, I have to do a better job of coaching,” said Sawchuk, who is the son of legendary Red Wings goalie Terry Sawchuk. “That was a mental error on his part and I have to make sure he doesn’t do that again. It’s a rugby punt. If he gets pressure on the end he’s supposed to find the pipe and get rid of it.”
Plymouth got a spark when Issac Emminger streaked 68 yards on the kickoff return to the Ike 27.
One play later Peterson responded with a strike to Timko, who out-fought Eagles defensive back John Fantauzzo for the ball in the corner of the end zone to get the Wildcats on the board.
But the momentum didn’t last long as a personal-foul penalty on the Wildcats helped set up Ike at the 40. Four plays later Wittwer hit Chargo for his second TD pass of the game, this one from 26 yards to give Ike a 21-7 lead with 7:22 left in the third.
Stroble’s second interception of the game ended a Plymouth drive at the 11.
Wittwer’s third TD pass of the game went to Ben Mets with 5:31 left to seal the deal.
Contact Perry A. Farrell: 313-222-2555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @farrellperry.