Field goal ends Cassopolis’ playoff hopesPublished 12:05am Saturday, September 29, 2012
“All good must come to an end,” is a century’s old English proverb that when taken in its best light can mean there is a bittersweet ending with a silver lining.
In the worst of light, it can signify an untimely and dissatisfying ending with little to no upside.
Unfortunately, for the Cassopolis Rangers football program and head coach Dan Purlee, Friday night’s 24-21 homecoming loss to the Bridgman Bees had not one but two occasions fall on the undesirable side of the spectrum.
Though the Bees (4-2) would strike first, going up 7-0 in the first five minutes of the game with a 1-yard touchdown run from halfback Donnie Harazin, (a lead which would stand for the remainder of the quarter), Cassopolis would rally in the second.
First, the Rangers used a slight amount of deception, when quarterback Vashaun Morgan laterally passed to Kevin Hatcher who in turn hit a streaking Tyler Pressly for a 49-yard gain that set up a 1-yard quarterback keeper for Morgan. After that, they used a relentless pressure defense that forced a fumble which was recovered by linebacker Jacob Roth to put Cass ahead 14-7 heading into the break.
The Rangers extended their good time even further in the beginning of the third quarter when senior tailback Jaylin Lawson took a handoff 15-yards into the end zone, capping an almost nine minute drive which seemed to drain the Bridgman side of all of its enthusiasm.
Enter the old English proverb.
It took the Bees just over two minutes to respond with a touchdown of their own. Primarily by using the two-headed offensive monster combination of running back Zeke Koch and wideout Cooper Mojsiejenko, Bridgman set up another Harazin 1-yard touchdown run to draw within one score of the Rangers at the end of the third.
The tide continued to turn on the Rangers when a spectacular catch by Mojsiejenko set the Bees up on the Cass 2-yard line, Koch pounded the ball in on his second try for the game tying touchdown with just under three minutes to play.
After a surprisingly quick three-and-out by the Rangers, Bridgman moved the ball from its own 33-yard line to the Cass 20 yard-line to set up Mojsiejenko for a 37-yard game winning field goal attempt with 19 seconds left to play.
To the dismay of the Cass faithful and the Ranger sideline, Mojsiejenko (whose father is former NFL Pro Bowl punter Ralf Mojsiejenko) had no problem knocking down the kick. Handing Cassopolis its fourth loss of the season and ending its quest for a seventh consecutive trip to the playoffs.
Lawson finished with 95 yards on 14 carries with a touchdown and Morgan finished with 40 yards on 14 carries for a score.
Koch led all rushers with 129-yard on 16-carries, while Mojsiejenko had six receptions for 107 yards.
A visibly dejected Purlee expressed his disappointment with the situation, but remained hopeful that his team could grow through the pain of this loss.
“It’s no fun for anybody right now. We got out-performed, out-coached and we ended the streak on my watch. It hurts,” he said. “But all we can do in life is get up when we get knocked down. With that, we’ll learn from this and be ready for River Valley next week.”
The Rangers look to get things back on track when the Mustangs visit next Friday at 7pm.
Bridgman 7 0 7 10 – 24
Cassopolis 0 14 7 0 – 21
B – Donnie Harazin 1 run (Cooper Mojsiejenko kick)
C – Vashaun Morgan 1 run (kick fails)
C – Jacob Roth fumblerecovery(Morgan run)
C – Jaylin Lawson 15 run (Kevin Hatcher kick)
B – Harazin 1run (Mojsiejenko kick)
B – Zeke Koch 1 run (Mojsiejenko kick)
B – Mojsiejenko 37 field goal