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Merritt defeats Carsonville-Port Sanilac in opener PHOTO GALLERY

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Mustangs return opening kickoff for TD

The Mustangs ran wild and free in their season opener.

Austin Oswald returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and John Basile threw three touchdown passes to Matthew Shather to lead Merritt to a 42-14 victory over visiting Carsonville-Port Sanilac in the season-opening football game for both teams Thursday.

Basile ran one yard for a touchdown as the Mustangs scored the first three times they had the ball, and Macomb County’s only 8-player program built a 42-0 lead on the way to the non-league victory.

“It’s great,” Basile, a senior quarterback, said. “We expected nothing less than a win. We wanted a big play to start the game off, and that’s what we got.”

Oswald returned the kickoff 56 yards and Jeremy Timms ran for a 2-point conversion as the Mustangs took an 8-0 lead 11 seconds into the game.

“That really set the tone,” Mustangs coach Rob Girvin said.

Shather, a senior, caught touchdown passes of 42, 50 and 11 yards from Basile.

Oswald, a senior playing football for the first time, ran 40 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and the Mustangs made three 2-point conversions for the game.

Carsonville-Port Sanilac spoiled the Mustangs’ shutout bid when senior running back Justin Ritchie ran 14 yards for a touchdown with 4:48 left in the game.

The Tigers scored a second time with 3:33 to go on Ritchie’s 30-yard run, a possession C-PS gained by virtue of a Merritt turnover.

“We wanted (a shutout) bad,” the 5-foot-11 Basile, who also plays linebacker, said. “From the first quarter on, we were talking about it in the huddle.

“We didn’t want those points on the board, but they’re up there.”

Nate McBride and Brendan Milligan recovered Tigers fumbles for the Mustangs. Tim Shamblin blocked a C-PS punt.

It was Merritt's second opening-week victory. The school is playing its fifth football season.

The Mustangs and Tigers are members of the Mid-Michigan 8-Man Football League, but their season opener did not count in league standings.

Their meeting later in the campaign will be considered a league game.

Last Updated: 8/25/2016 10:50:51 PM EST