BOYNE CITY -- It's all about making adjustments.
The Boyne City High School football did just that Thursday in its non-league contest against Kent City at Earl Brotherston Field.
The Ramblers overcame a second-half deficit -- as well as three turnovers in the red zone -- as they earned an 18-13 win to improve to 2-0 for the first time since the 2008 season, which ironically was Dave Hills' last season before returning to the head coaching position this fall.
The win capped a successful first-ever Rambler Day at Boyne, as the varsity soccer, volleyball and football teams all earned wins in their respective sports.
Freshman running back Malik Smith led the Rambler offense with 26 carries for 135 yards and a touchdown and sophomore Maceo Vroman scored on a 63-yard punt return as Boyne overcame a 13-9 halftime deficit and three second-half turnovers.
"From a coaching standpoint, you're always looking to see how your team reacts in those situations," Hills said. "Our kids just settled down and got back down to the business at hand. We were able to deal with some things and moved on."
The Ramblers had to deal with Kent City quarterback Jake Krueger, who engineered a 75-yard first-half scoring drive capped by Shane Rodenberg's 2-yard TD plunge that put Kent City in front, 13-9.
Krueger finished 13-of-21 passing for 176 yards.
"They had us guessing a little bit in the second quarter," Hills said. "But I thought we made some good adjustments at halftime, settled down and came back and took away the run. We knew we'd have to take away the run and deal with the pass as it came."
Boyne's defense stopped the Eagles on their first possession of the second half and forced a punt, which Vroman fielded on the roll, broke a pair of tackles, and burst into the open for a 63-yard scamper to the end zone. Austin Gardner kicked the extra point to give Boyne a 16-13 lead just over two minutes into the half.
"Special teams were huge and that was the game," Hills said. "Special teams was something we spent a little more time on this week. Sometimes fast kids make you look good and that's what happens. Maceo busted a lot of tackles and he has a great burst when he gets in the middle.
"He made us all look good."
Later in the third after forcing two more Eagle punts, the Ramblers drove the ball down to the Kent City 3-yard line, but turned the ball over on a fumble. Boyne's defense then rose to the occasion as senior Brady Calo stopped Kent City running back Chad Brown in his own end zone for a safety, upping the Rambler lead to 18-13.
"I thought our defense played well in the second half," Hills said. "We contained the run and they hit a pass or two, but nothing enough to consistently hurt us. I thought overall our effort was good."
Smith gave Boyne a 6-0 lead with a 5-yard TD run in the first quarter, but Kent City answered when Rodenberg found a seem in the middle and dashed 45 yards for a score. Tyler Kruis' extra-point kick put the Eagles up, 7-6.
Gardner put Boyne back on top with a 35-yard field goal in the second quarter, but the Eagles re-took the advantage on Chad Brown's 2-yard TD run with just 14 seconds left in the half.
"I thought offensively we were moving the ball pretty well all night," Hills said. "We had some costly turnovers in the second half, but otherwise I thought we put the game away.
"It's a 'W.' We're a young team and we're going to experience things like that. I was just pleased with the way we reacted to those situations. It would've been very easy for them to fold, but they didn't and they kept scrapping and figured out a way."
Also for the Ramblers, who finished with 283 yards rushing and 52 yards passing, Bradley Fouchia had 75 yards on 12 carries, while sophomore quarterback Corey Redman was 3-of-5 passing for 52 yards. Fouchia had all three receptions.
Senior linebacker Alan Manross had a team-high 14 tackles to lead Boyne's defense, while Conner Mills added nine tackles, and Jordan Wilmot had five stops. Wilmot made an interception with 1:16 to play to seal it.
For Kent City, 0-2, Rodenberg finished with 57 yards on nine carries, while Brown added 42 yards on 15. Rodenberg also had four receptions for 69 yards, while Ben Cebelak had 71 yards receiving on four catchers.
Linebacker KJ Herremans had nine tackles to lead the Eagles -- who opened the season last week with a 28-21 loss to Ravenna -- on defense.
"We just couldn't get stops when we needed them and we held them in the second half for the most part," Kent City coach Jason Vogel said. "We had some momentum, but offensively we just couldn't get it going and we had some miscues.
"This team needs to learn that you can't come out and play that way in the second half. We didn't cover the punt well in the second half as well. It's the little things we need to work on and that hurt us. Little miscues hurt us, it's stuff we need to clean up."
Boyne City opens Lake Michigan Conference play at home on Friday, Sept. 7, against Kalkaska. The Blazers are 2-0 after a 39-7 win over Suttons Bay on Thursday. The Blazers are off to their first 2-0 start since 2002.
"Kalkaska will be a challenge," Hills said. "They're a really good football team with some team speed. They'll present a lot of challenges for us and they're improved."
Maple City Glen Lake 32, Charlevoix 0
MAPLE CITY -- Charlevoix committed four turnovers Thursday in falling to Glen Lake in a non-league game.
Brian Noirot led Charlevoix's rushing attack with 34 yards on nine attempts, while Charlie Hamilton added 25 yards on six carries, and Tanner Catt had 20 yards on nine attempts.
"Our defense played pretty well, it's just that Glen Lake had great field position every time they had the ball," Charlevoix assistant coach Nick Barnum said.
Greyson Spegele made 14 tackles to lead Charlevoix's defense, while Sam Eakes made 12 stops, Tom Zipp had seven, and Shane Sutherland added six.
Drew Seymour blocked an extra-point kick for the Rayders.
The Rayders, 0-2, open Lake Michigan Conference play at home on Friday, Sept. 7, against Grayling, 2-0. The Vikings defeated Houghton Lake, 47-6, on Thursday.
St. Ignace 53, East Jordan 0
ST. IGNACE — St. Ignace improved to 2-0 and the Red Devils fell to 0-2 on Thursday.
It was the second straight shutout for the Saints, who last year reached the Division 8 state semifinals. The Saints opened last week with a 34-0 win over Charlevoix.
East Jordan opens Lake Michigan Conference play on Friday, Sept. 7, at Harbor Springs. The Rams, 0-1, play a non-league game at Frankfort today, Friday.
St. Ignace 44, East Jordan 6
EAST JORDAN --Robert Goodrich hauled in a 40-yard touchdown pass from Donny Cutler to give East Jordan an early lead, but the Red Devils couldn't make it hold up Thursday as they fell to the Saints.
Wyatt Crick threw for 54 yards, while Bailey Sargent led the Red Devils in rushing with 59 yards.
Hector Paz and Alex Herriman had 10 tackles apiece to lead East Jordan's defense, while Crick and Skyler Schuler were also lauded for strong defensive games by coach Greg Kitson. Kitson also credited offensive linemen Bob Sherman, Mark DeHaan and James Brown.
Football: Petoskey wins
WEST BRANCH -- Brent Murray scored three touchdowns Thursday as the Petoskey High School freshman football team posted a 44-30 win over West Branch Ogemaw Heights, improving to 2-0.
Kevin Tran turned a screen pass from quarterback Peter Crittenden into a 40-yard TD pass play for the Northmen, and Drew Wilson scored on a 40-yard on Petoskey's first offensive play of the game. Marion Wingster also scored for the Northmen.
Petoskey coach Rob Harris lauded the play of linemen Buddy Gray, Phil Schwab, Travis Buchanan, Austin Wilson, Tyler Leist and Erich Hoch.
Logan Fettig led Petoskey's defense with two tackles for loss, Evan Whitmore forced a fumble, and Connor Harwood, Trevor Wilson, Marcus Groh, Jacob Coats and Wingster also were standouts, Harris said.