The Edwardsburg defense brings down a Paw Paw runner in the Eddies' 46-36 loss to the Redskins Friday. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

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Paw Paw rallies to beat Eddies 46-36

Published 12:20am Saturday, October 20, 2012

For just over three quarters Friday night, Edwardsburg appeared to be on the verge of shattering the hopes of an undefeated football season for visiting Paw Paw.

Enter Justin McCauley.

The Redskins’ 6-foot-2 senior quarterback accounted for the game’s final three touchdowns and rallied Paw Paw to a 46-36 Wolverine Conference victory.

McCauley rushed for a game-high 152 yards on 22 carries – two of which produced touchdowns –  and completed four of his six pass attempts for 87 yards and a pair of scoring strikes.

“McCauley is a big boy who runs extremely well, and when he gets into an open field he is tough to bring down,” said Edwardsburg head coach Kevin Bartz, whose Eddies completed their regular season with an overall record of 6-3.

Added Paw Paw coach Brad Hessler: “We run both the wishbone and the spread (offense) and McCauley is awesome in the spread. He makes our offense go.”

Edwardsburg led 28-22 at halftime, following a wild second quarter that saw the two teams combine for 42 points.

A 15-yard scoring run by junior Jack Bywaters staked Edwardsburg to a two-touchdown advantage with 3:29 remaining in the third quarter, capping an eight-play drive that spanned 68 yards.

Despite the end result, Edwardsburg senior quarterback Jason Schimpa was injured on the first play of the scoring march and the Eddies’ offense stagnated for the remainder of the contest.

“That started a cascade of mistakes,” Bartz said about the injury to Schimpa. “Our second string quarterback (freshman Dante Razzano) came in and did some good things, but we made some mistakes and Paw Paw got a little momentum.”

An 8-yard scoring run by McCauley cut the Eddies’ lead to 36-30 with 1:23 remaining in the third quarter, before a botched punt at the end of Edwardsburg’s ensuing possession led to a 23-yard TD pass from McCauley to Jack Jennings.

Edwardsburg failed to convert on a fourth down play the next time it got the ball, and McCauley made the Eddies pay on an 18-yard TD pass to Kyle Williams.

“I don’t know that they wore us down. We just had a lot of mistakes,” Bartz said.

Schimpa scored the game’s first touchdown on a 1-yard bootleg run, before connecting with wide-open senior Caleb Neff on an 80-yard TD pass during the eye-popping scoring spree in the second quarter.

The Eddies also got scoring runs in the second quarter from Dustin Vires (5 yards) and Bywaters (14 yards).

Neff was credited with a team-high 88 rushing yards on 15 carries for Edwardsburg, and Schimpa completed two of his three pass attempts for 105 yards. The Eddies amassed 338 yards of total offense.

“What a great high school football game,” Hessler said. “You have to give credit to Edwardsburg and coach Bartz. Their team was ready to play.

“That offense has been hard for us to stop the last couple of years, and we were on our heels a little bit in the first half, but we just kind of counterbalanced in the second half and got back into our spread.”

“Our kids battled the whole game,” Bartz said. “You can’t fault our kids’ effort.”


Paw Paw 0 22 8 16 – 46

Edwardsburg 8 20 8 0 – 36

E – Schimpa, 1, run (Schimpa run)

E – Vires, 5, run (run failed)

PP – Beck, 5, run (run failed)

E – Neff, 80, pass from Schimpa (Schimpa run)

PP – Leak, 72, run (Leak run)

E – Bywaters, 14, run (run failed)

PP – McCauley, 33, run (Leak run)

E – Bywaters, 15, run (Neff run)

PP – McCauley, 8, run (McCauley run)

PP – Jennings, 23, pass from McCauley (Beck run)

PP – Williams, 18, pass from McCauley (Jennings pass from Doll)

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