Irish Top North Branch in Playoff Opener

The Notre Dame Varsity Football team defeated North Branch 27-12 in the opening round of the MHSAA Division Four playoffs.

After a scoreless opening quarter that saw the Broncos control time of possession, Jacob Bendtsen would score on a seven-yard rushing touchdown to put the Irish up 7-0.  Nearing the end of the first half, Notre Dame would block a punt to set up the Irish in plus field position and Bendtsen would hit Connor Gaeschke for a 14-yard touchdown and Notre Dame would head into the break up 13-0.

Caleb Webb gave the Irish great field position to start the second half with a kickoff return and was rewarded later on the ensuing drive as Webb scored on a 12-yard pass from Bendtsen to put Notre Dame up 20-0; However, North Branch would not go away as the Broncos would score two touchdowns (extra points were blocked on both scores) to close the gap to 20-12. However, the Irish would put the game away in the fourth quarter as Bendtsen would find Clayton Bone for a  20-yard touchdown to round out the scoring for the game. Daniel Heimbuch would intercept a North Branch pass late in the game to seal the victory for the Irish.

In all, Bendtsen threw for 181 and three touchdowns while adding a rushing score. Bone led all receivers with eight catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. The Irish will advance to the District Final where they will host Ortonville Brandon, who defeated St. Clair 21-19.

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