Gladwin Aims to ‘Raise the Bar’ One Last Time in State Championship Game

GLADWIN – “Raise the Bar” has been the mantra of the 2022 Gladwin football team.

The Flying G’s have raised it to new heights this season, setting school records for wins in a season (13) and advancing to the state championship for the first time in school history.

Coach Marc Jarstfer said the saying came out of the way last season finished.  The Flying G’s went undefeated in the regular season in 2021 but lost in the first round of the playoffs to finish with a 9-1 record. Jarstfer challenged the team to not be content with a great season and a 9-1 finish and instead “raise the bar” of what the program can achieve.

Gladwin proceeded to roll through the regular season once again in 2022 and then started its playoff march with victories over Ogemaw Heights and Kingsford to win the district championship.

The bar had been raised from what the Flying G’s accomplished the season before, but they were far from finished. Gladwin then beat Muskegon Oakridge, claiming the regional championship for the first time since 1998.

The team had matched the longest playoff run in school history, but to truly “raise the bar,” they wanted to advance farther than any Gladwin team ever had. Doing so would require a state semifinal victory against perennial powerhouse Grand Rapids Catholic Central, winners of five of the last six state championships.

The Flying G’s came out last Saturday and played a complete football game, shocking the Cougars with a 28-21 victory to advance to the state championship.

“Obviously that was an enormous win for our program,” said Jarstfer. “They’ve won five out of six and two or three straight or whatever it was. So for us to come out and kind of play with the attitude and way that we did with really just taking it to them physically, I thought was big for us.”

The Flying G’s are headed to Ford Field for the first time. Waiting for them is an undefeated Frankenmuth team that held Detroit Country Day to zero first downs and -2 yards of total offense in the state semifinals.

I don’t pay that much attention to [those stats] because we’re not Country Day,” said Gladwin senior Earl Esiline. “They haven’t played us yet. They don’t know what we’re capable of. So let’s just come out as hard as we can.”

The bar has been raised to a new height for this Gladwin program. The Flying G’s hope to raise it one more time on Saturday night and raise a state championship trophy in the process.

If they do, they’ll also finish with a perfect 14-0 record.

It’s hard to raise the bar much higher than that.

Categories: Football