Hamilton defeats Dowagiac in first round of playoffsPublished 10:04am Monday, November 2, 2009
By SCOTT NOVAK
Dowagiac Daily News
ZEELAND – It was over almost before it started.
Host Hamilton scored four first quarter touchdowns and then turned the game over to its defense and the weather as it routed Dowagiac 28-3 in the opening round of the Division 4 playoffs at Zeeland Stadium.
After its field was flooded by overnight rains, Hamilton moved the game to Zeeland and the artificial turf.
With winds gusting anywhere from 20 to 50 miles per hour and horizontal rain at times, the conditions were less than ideal to play in.
Hamilton won the coin toss, chose to defer and then made the Chieftains go into the wind after Dowagiac decided to take the ball to open the game.
After a three-and-out on its first possession, Dowagiac was forced to punt into the wind, which gave the Hawkeyes a short field to work with.
Hamilton didn’t waste any time showing how powerful its offense was as Aric Spotts, who rushed for five first half touchdowns against Wyoming Park the previous week, opened the scoring with a 9-yard run.
Spotts, who would finish with 156 yards on 18 carries, also scored on runs of 30- and 2-yards in the opening 12 minutes as the Hawkeyes rolled up a 28-0 advantage.
The other Hamilton touchdown came on a strip of the football at the Dowagiac 21-yard line by Cody Buresh, who took it in for the third score of the game. Buresh finished with nine tackles, including four for a loss.
The Chieftains (8-2) finally put a drive together to start the second quarter, but after marching nearly 90 yards, Dowagiac had to settle for a 35-yard field goal by freshman kicker Brett Scanlon.
Little did anyone know at the time, but that would be the end of the scoring for the evening.
Hamilton did attempt to kick a field goal at the end of the first half, but the strong winds pushed the ball a good 15-yards left of the uprights.
Heading into the game, Chieftains coach Mike Stanger knew his team could not afford to get behind early or allow Hamilton to push it around.
The Hawkeyes were able to do both and that was the difference in the contest.
“Hamilton is very physical up front,” Stanger said. “They took away our inside trap game and that’s about a third of our offense. That limited what we could do. Then on defense we practiced against that counter play all week long and knew what they were going to do. But we still got hit with some big plays. We had some mental breakdowns and some turnovers that hurt. But all in all, they were just more physical than we were.
“I knew we couldn’t come out and let them dominate the line of scrimmage and get some early big plays,” he added.
Despite averaging over 340 yards a game on the ground, the Hamilton defense limited the Chieftains to just 147 yards rushing. Dowagiac completed just one pass on the night for a minus one yard and was picked off once.
Jon Myers led the Chieftains offensively with 59 yards on 13 carries.
Hamilton finished the game with 193 yards on the ground and another 90 yards passing as Evan Mudd was 8-of-19.
Dowagiac 0 3 0 0 – 0
Hamilton 28 0 0 0 – 0
H – Aric Spotts 9 run (Alex Tenckinck kick)
H – Spotts 30 run (Alex Tenckinck kick)
H – Cody Buresh 21 fumble recovery (Alex Tenckinck kick)
H – Spotts 2 run (Alex Tenckinck kick)
D – Brett Scanlon 35 field goal