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Wildcats shut out in season opener at Cadillac

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Alpena running back Charlie Williams (4) tries to avoid a Cadillac defender during the first quarter of a Big North Conference football game on Friday at Veterans Memorial Field in Cadillac.

CADILLAC–There was plenty of excitement leading up to the opening game of the 2020 football season. No player may have been more excited than Cadillac quarterback Aden Gurden.

The Vikings’ (1-0, 1-0 BNC) signal caller was steps ahead of the competition on Friday as he made opening night for the Alpena High School football team miserable.

Gurden was responsible for all four Cadillac touchdowns in the Vikings’ 27-0 victory over Alpena at Veterans Memorial Field in Cadillac on Friday.

Alpena was in an unusual spot entering Friday’s Big North Conference and regular season opener as the Wildcats (0-1, 0-1 BNC) were without head coach Eric Mitchell.

Alpena’s head man was forced to quarantine earlier in the week and has been following the necessary guidelines in order for his players to take the field. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, opening night did not go as they had hoped.

“It’s frustrating not being able to be there, especially for our first game, but I’m following all the rules given to me for the best interest in my players,” Mitchell said. “I wish I could be there, but making sure they’re able to suit up and play is what’s most important to me.”

Both teams spent the opening quarter feeling each other out and showed signs of rust after a layoff.

Gurden and the Cadillac offense got going in the second quarter.

The Vikings opened the scoring two and a half minutes into the second when Gurden connected with Derek Rood for an 11-yard touchdown and Cadillac took a 7-0 lead.

The Wildcats were unable to find a rhythm offensively in the first half as they were held to just 12 yards rushing. 

Cadillac extended the lead late in the quarter when Gurden capped off a 10-play drive with another 11 yard score, this time with his legs.

Alpena tried to put a late scoring drive together and cut into the double digit lead in the final seconds, but quarterback Ryan Voltz was picked off with two seconds remaining and the Vikings held a 13-0 halftime lead.

Cadillac came out of the locker room and wasted little time building the lead as Gurden broke free and found pay dirt from 50 yards out to give the Vikings a 20-0 lead.

Alpena fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Vikings recovered at the Wildcat 39 yard line.

Two minutes later, Gurden found the end zone for the fourth time, scoring on a quarterback sneak from a yard out to put Alpena into a 27-0 hole.

Gurden ran for 173 yards to go along with his four scores.

Alpena struggled offensively, but had some success through the air as Voltz went 17-of-30 for 153 yards. Kadyn Budnick caught eight passes for 66 yards as Voltz’s go-to receiver.

The Wildcats will look to bounce back next Saturday when they host Traverse City West at 7 p.m. at Park Family Field at Wildcat Stadium.

Cadillac’s JV team defeated Alpena 18-7 on Thursday.

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