Dowagiac quarterback Brett Scanlon dives for yardage in the Chieftains' 36-0 win over Otsego in the opening round of the Division 4 playoffs. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

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Chieftains rout Otsego again

Published 11:03pm Friday, October 26, 2012

It was deja vu all over again Friday night for the visiting Otsego football team in a Division 4 pre-district game against Dowagiac at Chris Taylor-Alumni Field

One week removed from a 43-0 thrashing of Otsego, the Chieftains parlayed another defensive clinic into a second straight lopsided victory.

The opportunistic Chieftains turned five first-half turnovers by the Bulldogs into five touchdowns and cruised to a 36-0 win.

“I was proud of their focus,” Dowagiac head coach Mike Stanger said. “I was proud they didn’t look past them and didn’t overlook them. Otsego is a well-coached team and I knew they were going to come to play.

“The defense played strong. They fly around and they hustle, they’re unselfish, and they work hard. We’re just working to get better every week.”

With the victory, Dowagiac (10-0) will play host to Grand Rapids South Christian next Friday in a 7 p.m. district championship showdown. South Christian routed Paw Paw Friday night, 48-0.

“They’re the big Grand Rapids team,” Stanger said about South Christian. “They’re going to come to a small, country town like Dowagiac and we’re going to have a challenge, but that’s what we want.”

Despite an early offensive surge, Otsego wasn’t much of a challenge Friday for the Chieftains.

The Bulldogs amassed 42 yards in their first three offensive plays, but managed just 78 additional stripes for the balance of the contest.

Brendon Murray picks off one of three Bulldog passes for the Chieftains Friday night. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

An interception by Dowagiac senior Todd McIntyre effectively opened the floodgates. McIntyre’s interception set up the Chieftains at the Otsego 33-yard line, and senior Cal Cox scored on a 5-yard run nine plays later.

An acrobatic interception by senior Brendon Murray on the second play of the Bulldogs’ ensuing drive led to a 6-yard TD scamper by senior Brett Scanlon three plays later and the rout was on.

“I was excited about it,” Murray said about the diving, one-handed interception. “I was just going for the deflection, but it popped up and I just went and grabbed it.”

Dowagiac recovered an Otsego fumble three plays into the second quarter and Murray sprinted 51 yards to paydirt with 10:42 remaining until halftime.

Otsego muffed the ensuing kickoff and junior Davion Highsmith covered the football at the Bulldogs’ 13-yard line. Four plays later, Cox connected with senior Dontel Highsmith on a 10-yard scoring strike.

The Chieftains capped the scoring with 3:20 remaining until intermission when senior D.J. Hunt intercepted a pass and raced 45 yards for a touchdown.

Dowagiac yielded just 12 yards of total offense during a second half that allowed Stanger to empty his bench.

A total of 13 different players carried the football for Dowagiac and the Chieftains used four quarterbacks en route to amassing 165 yards of total offense.

“Our goal is to give those kids the experience and continue to build the program,” Stanger said. “To get those kids on the field and to see and taste playoff football is huge.

We have a lot of kids who are just great kids on this team, and they work hard.”

“This week was really nice, because a lot of the junior varsity players got to move up and they helped us a lot on scout team,” Scanlon said. They gave us some good looks and were giving some of the older guys a break. I want to thank those guys a lot.

“At the end of the game we had almost all sophomores and juniors out there, and they did a great job.”


Otsego 0 0 0 0 – 0

Dowagiac 14 22 0 0 – 36

D – Cal Cox 5 run (Brett Scanlon kick)

D – Scanlon 6 run (Scanlon kick)

D – Brendon Murray 51 run (Scanlon kick)

D – Dontel Highsmith10 pass from Cox (D.J. Hunt run)

D – Hunt 45 interception return (Scanlon kick)

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