Swanton struggled on offense as they fell to Start 23-7 on Friday. The Bulldogs were held to 120 yards, while Start amassed 196 yards in the defensive battle.
Despite the offensive struggles, the Bulldog defense kept them in the game. At the end of three quarters, Swanton trailed 16-7, but the Dogs were driving.
A Michael Lawniczak run and a catch from Josh Vance got the Bulldogs down to the Start 26 yard line. But on third down, a trick play was intercepted by Daniel Wright and he raced 75 yards to the end zone for a 23-7 Start lead with 9:51 left in the game.
Hunter Mix led the Bulldogs with 53 yards rushing on seven carries. As a team, Swanton ran for just 46 yards. Dylan Gilsdorf was 9 of 19 through the air for 72 yards.
Start took a 3-0 lead on a Jake Baumgartner field goal that was set up by a long reception by Jamarion Gaines on a third and 16. A Swanton fumble at their own 22 yard line and a pass interference call set up Baumgartner for another field goal that gave the Spartans a 6-0 lead after one quarter.
Swanton drove deep into Spartan territory on the ensuing possession. On a first and goal from the nine yard line, Mix gained five yards. On third down, he ran to the corner and dove to the pylon, but was ruled out at the two yard line, setting up fourth and goal.
The Spartan defense stood strong, stopping the Bulldogs’ fourth down run and ending the drive just short of the end zone.
A long Kenny Franklin reception with just eight seconds left in the opening half set up Baumgartner’s third field goal of the half, giving Start a 9-0 lead at the break.
In the third, a 21-yard run by Mix set Swanton up at the Start 13-yard line. A pass interference call gave them the ball at the six. Tyler Gowing punched it into the end zone from four yards out, and Riley Hensley’s extra point made the score 9-7 with 6:06 left in the third quarter.
Start had an answer. A block in the back negated a kick return touchdown, but the Spartans still started their drive at midfield. Legend Tucker broke off a big run that, coupled with a face mask penalty, gave Start the ball at the Swanton 13.
Another Tucker run gave Start the ball at the two. He fumbled on first down, but it was recovered by Start and Marquaz James punched it into the end zone on third and goal from the one for a 16-7 advantage.
Swanton (1-1) travels to Rogers (0-2) this Friday.