It didn't take long Friday night for Plymouth's football team to go from flat to phat.
Phat is a slang term meaning excellent, which is exactly what the 'Cats were in the second half of their 41-27 triumph over host Livonia Churchill.
Plymouth improved to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the KLAA South Division. Churchill slipped to 1-3 and 0-2, respectively.
"For whatever reason, we came out flat in the first half," said Plymouth coach Mike Sawchuk. "The kids put it together in the second half and showed what they're capable of. Churchill is no slouch. They have some kids who can run and their quarterback can really throw.
"If we continue to start slowly in the games on the rest of our schedule, there's going to be no turning back."
Several stars shined for the Wildcats, none brighter than senior defensive back/receiver/quarterback Victor Hicks, who excelled on both sides of the ball. Hicks had two carries for 34 yards, caught two passes for 49 and picked off his third pass of the season on the defensive side of the ball.
"Vic Hicks played his tail off on defense tonight," said Sawchuk.
The Chargers' offense was dangerous all night, picking up 419 total yards to Plymouth's 307.
But the Wildcats made big plays when they had to, especially in the second half when they scored on six straight possessions.
Junior quarterback Shaun Austin directed the Wildcats' offense, completing 15 of 23 passes for 136 yards. The Wildcats' running game was strong and balanced, led by Jerel Jenkins' 86 yards on 11 carries. Donte Fox picked up 61 on just four hauls.
Nine different players caught Austin spirals. Adedamola Adebiyi caught a team-high three for 14 yards, while Hicks, Brennen Beyer (33 yards), Thomas Afetian (10), Fox (six) and Jake Morris (-3) caught two each.
Senior kicker Kyle Brindza, who has committed to kick for Notre Dame beginning next fall, blasted a pair of field goals, including a 53-yarder. Brindza also boomed a 54 yard punt.
Churchill quarterback Jordan Grohoski completed 10 of 17 aerials for 192 yards and a score. Steven Klisz was also effective, missing on just two of nine attempts for 41.
Dean Bokuniewicz led the Chargers' receiving corps with 91 yards -- 60 of which came on one catch.
Grohoski led Churchill in rushing with 78 yards on 20 attempts.
University of Michigan-bound defensive end Brennen Beyer led Plymouth with 5.5 tackles. Tony Rhodes was credited with five stops while Tyler Goble had 4.5.
Churchill grabbed a 6-0 lead with 4:55 left in the first quarter on Michael Kutek's 1-yard run.
Plymouth took its first lead of the contest -- 7-6 -- 6:45 before halftime when Donte Fox rumbled 21 yards to paydirt.
The Chargers countered four minutes later when Grohoski scampered into the end zone from five yards out. He then hooked up with Bokuniewicz on the two-point conversion pass to put the hosts ahead, 14-7.
The play of the night for the Wildcats unfolded seconds later when Fox secured Bokuniewicz's kickoff at the 10 yard line and sprinted 90 yards for the tying score 2:20 before the intermission.
The play seemed to light a fuse under the 'Cats, who couldn't be stopped in the second half.
They put the game away with three consecutive scoring drives, the first of which was culminated with Brindza's 53-yard field goal with eight minutes to play in the third.
Jerel Jenkins then dashed 64 yards for a TD to put his team ahead 24-14. Just over a minute later Fox added a 27-yard scoring run to make it 31-14.
Grohoski connected with David Boucher on a 2-yard TD pass with 10:33 to play, but Plymouth scored 10 unanswered points on a 2-yard run by Jenkins and a 39-yard field goal by Brindza to extend its lead to 41-20.
Churchill added a late Klisz-to-Lamont Johnson 9-yard TD pass with 0:01 on the clock.
Ed Wright can be reached at (734) 453-1980 or firstname.lastname@example.org.